As I sat here wondering what my first post should say, the idea of saying the Sh’ma came to mind. What better a way to begin this journal than with the entire Torah summarized by the two greatest commands: (more…)

Happy Sukkot everyone!

This is my second year of celebrating Sukkot however, it is the first time I have actually built a sukkah. What a great experience. We went through several revisions to the original plan and learned some valuable lessons along the way (our first attempt was about as sturdy as a jellyfish).

sukkah

sukkah

Even now there are changes I plan on incorporating in next year’s model but I have to admit I’m quite proud of our first attempt 🙂 I would have liked to close in the sides with lattice but the budget for this year was already maxed out. Also, next year I will be adding more roof trusses to support all the branches (4 is just not enough).

The bronze bowls on the black stakes in front of the sukkah are filled with citronella oil in order to help ward off the swarm of mosquitoes that fill the night air. We also added some blue string lights for a little extra ambiance.  (Sorry the last pic is so blurry)

Already we have been able to enjoy a couple of meals under the moon and stars. How awesome it is to look up though the branches and admire YAH’s beautiful work! I hope your Sukkot is filled with happiness and great rejoicing!

sukkah

sukkah

night sukkah

night sukkah

שלום

I’ve got a question that I’m hoping someone out there in the wide web will be able to answer for me. I’ve seen a breakdown of the word tallit that purports that the first half (tal) is the Hebrew word for tent and the second half comes from the word (ith) meaning little. The problem is when I look up these words in a Hebrew dictionary: tal doesn’t mean tent and ith doesn’t mean little?

So, I’m confused. Does anyone have a source that would show this breakdown to be accurate? It does seem to make sense to me but I can’t find a source that proves it to be correct. I’ve seen a lot of sites that all state the same thing but none of them list where they’re getting this from 😦

Just in case I don’t post again before Yom Teruah:

Chag Sameach & L’shana tovah!

Well, what can I say? Sometimes we all need a good laugh. I stumbled across this and thought you might get a chuckle out of it too.

On a serious note, here’s the prayer in case you were wondering:

Modeh  ani  l’faneikha,  Melek  chai  v’kayom,  shehechezarta  bi  nish’mati  bechem’lah –  rabah  emunatekha

I give thanks before you, Sovereign living and eternal, for You have returned within me my soul with compassion – abundant is Your faithfulness!

Well, I attended my first Hebrew class this week. I can now read: שבת

The truly cool thing is my wife decided to come with me! Once she found out there wasn’t any tests to take she agreed to go 🙂 I think it’s great that the College of Charleston allows you to take two semesters of Hebrew for free, even the workbooks are free.

I’ve been trying to teach myself to read Hebrew but it’s always easier when you can learn directly from someone that speaks the language fluently. I’m looking forward to no longer sounding like a small child when I read from my siddur.

Shabbat Shalom!

I love this blessing and thought you might like to see the Hebrew for this powerful prayer. Moshe was instructed by YHWH to have Aharon and his sons bless the children of Yisra’el with this in order that YHWH Himself could bless them. Personally, I find this to be a beautiful way to begin our Shabbat and bless my wife and children every erev Shabbat. The Birkat Kohanim is found in B’midbar (Numbers) 6:22-27

Y’varekhekha YHWH v’yishmerekha

YHWH bless you and guard you;

Yaer YHWH panaiv eleikha vichunneka

YHWH make His face shine upon you, and show favor to you;

Yissa YHWH panaiv eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom

YHWH lift up His face upon you, and give you peace.

Sound the shofar

Already it is Elul. Tonight we begin the sixth month knowing that the Fall Festivals are almost upon us. Yom Teruah is merely one short month away. I wonder what this year’s Yom Kippur will be like. Most of all, I look forward to the rejoicing at Sukkot.

This year my son and I are planing on building a sukkah in our backyard. We neglected to do this last year and I feel like we missed out on a special opportunity. If you have any tips or suggestions for a first-timer I’d love to hear them, I have a feeling we are going to need all the help we can get 🙂

In my last post Mind If I Rant? I posed a question to everyone: Does the term ‘secular Jew’ bother you? Although I didn’t receive hundreds of responses, the responses I did receive (todah rabah, thank you very much) had one common answer: “who am I to judge?” No one thought it appropriate to judge another person’s walk. One reader even thought I came across as insulting to the Goyim (Gentiles, Nations) although I can assure you it was not my intention to insult anyone. Then an interesting question was asked of me. Would I be willing to write about my life’s mistakes? (more…)