Podcast by Rabbi David Fohrman
3. The New Normal
25:05We’re now several days into the new normal... except that the new normal changes every day. In this episode, Rabbi Fohrman shares his thoughts on finding spiritual strength in the face of chaos. He begins by looking at a model in the Talmud of someone who attempted to hold onto normalcy: Marta bat Baitos, Martha daughter of Boethus, a noblewoman who struggled to live through the days of the destruction of the Temple. Rabbi Fohrman also reflects on Stephen Covey’s circle of control and raises the question of how we, as religious people, can use faith to let go of what we can’t control to focus more completely on what we can.
2. Going Into Lockdown: A Conversation With Rabbi Rothwachs
29:19On Thursday, the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County took the frightening step of closing all centers of community -- not only schools, but synagogues, and restaurants, too. Plus, people were asked to refrain from hosting shabbat meals, making playdates for kids, even going to the park. In this episode, Rabbi Larry Rothwachs, synagogue rabbi of Congregation Beth Aaron in Teaneck, NJ, and a past president of RCBC, joins Imu in an open conversation about how this historic decision was made, how members of our community are feeling, and how we can all help one another cope with the practical and emotional overwhelm so many of us are feeling.
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1. Aleph Beta Quarantined: An Introduction
19:10No, this isn't Parsha Lab...it's a new podcast from Aleph Beta. Presenting: Aleph Beta Quarantined. Every day, every hour, almost every minute, it feels like there is some breaking news about what is happening with COVID 19. Schools are canceled. Synagogues are shutting their doors. Restaurants are closing. We are scared, we are looking into an unknown, and we feel alone and lonely. In this new podcast, Rabbi David Fohrman and Imu Shalev address some of the fears so many of us are facing, and talk about some of the most pressing topics they will address in future episodes. From preparing for Passover, to keeping kids entertained, to helping us deal with our own mental health and anxiety, we will try to deal with it all, with love, compassion, and community. Come join us.
Parsha Lab Says - See You Soon!
2:21You might have noticed that you haven’t heard a new episode in the last two weeks. Well, in this “mini” episode, we explain next steps for Parsha Lab. If you want to revisit past episodes of Parsha Lab, the episodes will continue to live on Aleph Beta’s site and app. For new Aleph Beta content, check out alephbeta.org or download the Aleph Beta app.
Ep. 36 Parshat V'Zot Habracha: Moshe’s Final Farewell
35:44In the Torah’s final parsha, Moshe is preparing to take leave of the nation he has been so devoted all of these years. He gives them blessings before taking his final departure. He then ascends a mountain and is laid to rest in an unknown burial place. Or is it? A careful reading of Moshe’s blessings may give us clues as to where he was buried. The significance of this is not so much about identifying the geographical location of his grave, as it is about teaching us a profound lesson in loyalty, brotherhood and redeeming unfulfilled dreams. Join us for a deep look at the Torah’s bittersweet ending.
Ep.35 Parshat Ha’azinu: Is This The Song of Doom?
30:42In Parshat Ha’azinu, the Israelites receive a frightening prophetic “song” about their future failure to follow God’s will, and the punishment they receive as a result. When Moshe introduces this prophecy, he states that he hopes his speech will fall “ke-se’irim alei desheh” -- like some sort of ‘rain upon grass.’ What does that mean? And why is it stated as an introduction to the song? Join Daniel Loewenstein and Ami Silver as they explore the hidden layers of meaning in Ha’azinu, and the crucial questions it raises for us today.
Ep.34 Parshat Vayeilech: What's Wrong With Moses’ Leadership?
26:11Parshat Vayeilech records Moses’ farewell speech on the last day of his life. In the opening of this speech, Moses reminds the people that he won’t be leading them into Israel and that Joshua will take over his position. But when you look closely at what Moses says about Joshua, you can’t help but ask, was Moses trying to sabotage Joshua's leadership? Or was Moses trying to warn the people about something? Join Beth Lesch and Daniel Loewenstein as the re-examine the text and discover a hidden narrative in the Torah about the dangers of leadership -- and never think about Moshe's intentions the same way again.
Ep.33 Parshat Nitzavim: What Is the 'Hidden Sin' In This Week's Parsha?
40:24Parshat Nitzavim states, “The hidden things are for God but the revealed things are for us,” which suggests perhaps that only God can punish for sins done in private. Could the parsha be alluding to a specific hidden sin in our history? Join Beth Lesch and Ami Silver as they re-examine the text of Nitzavim and its references to the story of the Sale of Joseph, and never think about Parshat Nitzavim the same way again.
Ep.32 Parshat Ki Tavo: What Are Blessings And Curses, Really?
22:22In Parshat Ki Tavo, the Israelites are told that when they enter the land they must publicly bless those who keep the commandments, and curse those who violate them. And they have to proclaim these blessings and curses on two mountains -- Mount Gerizim and Mount Eval. But why? What's so special about these mountains? And why must the blessings and curses be reviewed in such a public way? Join Daniel Loewenstein and Beth Lesch as they use the gematria, grammar and topography hidden in Ki Tavo to consider what blessings and curses are really about -- and never think about Ki Tavo the same way again.
Ep.31 Parshat Ki Teitzei: Remember Amalek; Don't Forget
23:43This week’s parsha includes the commandment to wipe out the memory of Amalek, the nation who attacked the Israelites just weeks after the Exodus from Egypt. It’s the kind of mitzvah that makes our skin crawl in the 21st century. Why would God command wiping out an entire people? What did they do that was so evil that they deserve to be completely erased from history? And why does the Torah use this cryptic language of memory and forgetting to give this command? Our parsha holds a surprising key for solving the Amalek puzzle, through a completely different mitzvah that touches on themes of memory and erasing. Looking at these two mitzvot together will open up a whole new way of understanding the battle with Amalek, what it meant for the ancient Israelites, and what it may mean for us today. Listen to Ami Silver and Daniel Loewenstein’s exploration of these ideas, and be prepared to never view this story the same way again.