Parshat Vayetzei: Ha-makom & Holy Places

What makes a place holy? A look at the word “ha-makom” (the place) in Torah provides some perspective. The word ha-makom is repeated throughout the beginning of parshat Vayetze. On Yacov’s journey from Be’ersheva to Haran: “He came upon that place (ba-makom)…” What is that place? Rashi identifies it with the unnamed place in the … Read More

Parshat Toldot: Long-term Optimism

How does one remain hopeful and optimistic in the face of adversity? Some insight and inspiration can be gleaned from the instances of tefilla in parshat Toldot.  After twenty years of infertility, prayers and longing to have a child, Rivka becomes pregnant. The word for prayer here – ויעתר –  is unique. It is used … Read More

Parshat Chayei Sarah: Types of Tefilla

There is a seeming paradox within Jewish prayer. If the times we pray and the words we say are fixed by halakha, how can tefilla also be flexible, individualized and filled with kavanah (intention)?! Parshat Chayei Sarah provides some insight into this question. The Talmud, drawing on the parsha, contains a debate about the origin … Read More

Parshat Vayera: The Meaning of Prayer

Parshat Vayera contains the first appearance of the word tefilla in Tanach. Avaraham prays (“Vayitpallel”) for Avimelech’s household and God responds to his prayer. Then, Sarah too is remembered by God and becomes pregnant after years of infertility. How does the language of “hitpallel” teach about the efficacy and purpose of prayer? Furthermore, where is … Read More

Loading…

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Subscribe to My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

About Me

I’m Karen Miller Jackson, a certified Matan Morah l’Halakha, Jewish educator and writer. Welcome to my blog which provides Torah from a woman’s perspective for modern, busy people. To subscribe via email please sign up!