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rebbetzin malkah
middot enthusiasm rebbetzin malkah

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rebbetzin malkah

rebbetzin malkah

Malkah Forbes, born in Upstate New York, studied Computer Science at SUNY Oswego (B.A.), where she met her future husband, Jason.  Soon after, they moved to the  Seattle area where her husband could pursue his career in software engineering. In tandem, Jason was studying to become a rabbi. After Jason received his smicha (rabbinic ordination) from the UMJC, both he and Malkah became leaders of their current congregation, Beit HaShofar Synagogue in SeattleWA.  Currently, Malkah is an active rebbetzin and not only teaches Hebrew, but helps to oversee and spearhead new synagogue programs.  Her latest project includes Riverton Mussar, which she and her husband co-founded in 2010.  She has been a frequent contributor of drashes for the UMJC website, served on the board of the UMJC National Sisterhood, Achot, and has been a speaker for various sessions at the UMJC International Conference.

When Malkah is not writing for Riverton Mussar, she can be found enjoying her three teenagers, her two delightful cats, working on her interior and garden redesign business, knitting, and sporting a serious game of Mah Jongg.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 05:54

order up

art-moms-taxi“All your actions and possessions should be orderly – each and every one in a set place and set time. Let your thoughts always be free to deal with that which lies ahead of you.” – Rabbi M.M. Lefin of Satanov,  Cheshbon Hanefesh

Sunday, 22 July 2012 21:00

in whom do you trust?

art-rubelRabbi Israel Salanter was in a hotel once, and the person in charge, a Jewish fellow, asked the rabbi, not knowing who he was, if he knew how to do shechita, (how to properly slaughter animals). Rabbi Salanter then said, "Why do you ask?" The fellow answered that he had an animal that needed to be slaughtered for dinner, and instead of taking it to the slaughterhouse, he hoped that Rabbi Salanter would be able do it right there. Rabbi Salanter answered that he was sorry, but he was not an expert in shechita.

Later that day, Rabbi Salanter went to the same fellow and asked to borrow 5 rubels. The fellow looked at the rabbi and said, "How can I lend to you 5 rubles, for I don’t know who you are? I never met you, so how can I lend to you 5 rubles? Who says you are going to pay me back?" Rabbi Salanter replied that when it came to asking about shechita, the fellow didn’t know him but trusted the rabbi anyway simply because he had a beard. But now when it came to money, he didn’t trust the rabbi at all. His money was more important to him than his religion.

Sunday, 22 July 2012 19:51

for all time

art-notzerchesedThe Hebrew word for trustworthy is ameen. It comes from the root meaning faithful. When we consider what it means to be trustworthy, it is really a component of faithfulness.  And one of the best examples of trustworthiness is Hashem Himself.

Sunday, 22 July 2012 19:25

taking it to the street

art-tostreetsShammai taught: "Say little and do much." — Avot 1:15

Rabbi Natan said, “What does this mean? It teaches that the righteous say little and do much, whereas the wicked say much and do not even a little.”  — Avot 13:3

Thursday, 12 July 2012 19:13

making the mark

art-woodbirdAn ancient Indian sage was teaching his disciples the art of archery. He put a wooden bird as the target and asked them to aim at the eye of the bird. The first disciple was asked to describe what he saw. He said, "I see the trees, the branches, the leaves, the sky, the bird and its eye." The sage asked this disciple to wait. Then he asked the second disciple the same question and he replied, "I only see the eye of the bird." The sage said, "Very good, then shoot." The arrow went straight and hit the eye of the bird.

Monday, 09 July 2012 04:50

finding concentration

Rabban Gamliel said, "All my days have I grown up among the wise and I have not found anything better for a man (literally, “better for the body”) than silence."  --Pirke Avot 1:17

Friday, 06 July 2012 06:56

focus already

art-shvitiThe pious ones of earlier generations spent an hour in contemplation before the beginning of their prayers, and one hour after. --Tractate Berachot, 30b

Friday, 29 June 2012 18:51

haze in the olam

art-smogThe books of Martin Buber, and especially his seminal work "I-and-Thou", allow us, it seems to me, to distinguish with better precision between Olam Haze and Olam Haba, using criteria which are meaningful to the individual and communal life of any educated reader, be (s)he Christian or Jew, religious or secular or even an agnostic.

In his "I-and-Thou", Buber distinguishes between two types of human existence which are characterised by two kinds of relationship: "I-Thou" and "I-It". Taking exception to the way Buber's originally German book was translated to Hebrew, I propose that what he calls "it" is what is in Biblical and Modern Hebrew "Ze" to denote "that", and denotes a form of distancing and alienation. From the alienated relationship between self and other or self and environment grows an alienated world. It is possible to point at different types of alienation, and they seem to multiply. Buber was concerned both with alienation between people and the alienation between humans and God, which is, of course, the alienation that concerned the author of Genesis and our sages of blessed memory.

The most crucial question is perhaps the amount of alienation in inter-human relation and the recognition of each person as a brother and a "thou". (Many traditional societies which might have had an extremely strong inner solidarity probably did not recognize the native of the next village or next valley as a human identical to themselves and certainly not the native of another continent with a different skin color). The real test, in my opinion, to the emergence from the "Olam Haze" state of alienation to "Olam Haba"(world to come) is that each human being receives any other one as "welcome".  —Dr. Yitzhak I. Hayutman [1] 

Friday, 29 June 2012 18:26

mindful orbiting

art-solarsystemThe Hebrew for awareness is mudaut. Living on the third rock from the sun, we are very aware what would happen if we were closer to the sun or further away.  Life is not supported on the planets on either side of us and neither is our conspicuous placement coincidental; rather, it is perfect, intentional and life-giving. How we tune our awareness beyond this simple knowledge can be life-giving as well.

Sunday, 03 June 2012 21:29

simplicity gone too far

art-simplecoffeeRabbi Salanter once noticed that a fancy restaurant was charging a huge price for a cup of coffee. He approached the owner and asked why the coffee was so expensive. After all, some hot water, a few coffee beans and a spoonful of sugar could not amount to more than a few cents.

The owner replied: "It is correct that for a few cents you could have coffee in your own home. But here in the restaurant, we provide exquisite decor, soft background music, professional waiters, and the finest china to serve your cup of coffee."

Rabbi Salanter's face lit up. "Oh, thank you very much! I now understand the blessing of Shehakol -- 'All was created by His word' -- which we recite before drinking water. You see, until now, when I recited this blessing, I had in mind only that I am thanking the Creator for the water that He created. Now I understand the blessing much better. 'All' includes not merely the water, but also the fresh air that we breathe while drinking the water, the beautiful world around us, the music of the birds that entertain us and exalt our spirits, each with its different voice, the charming flowers with their splendid colors and marvelous hues, the fresh breeze -- for all this we have to thank God when drinking our water!"

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