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rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld
middot humility rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

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rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

I am committed to a life provoking the invasion of The Coming Kingdom through: human service, ecstatic prayer, halakhic observation, community building, nurturing hope, and drawing down abiding faith...

Friday, 25 February 2011 21:31

using every opportunity

art-siddur4Fiddler on the Roof teaches us that there is a blessing for everything in Judaism (including the czar)! One can come to the same conclusion with careful analysis of a siddur or halachic work that discusses blessings.

The Koren Siddur, for example, actually lists some of the rarer blessings to be found in siddurim, including the blessings over: seeing a rainbow, hearing thunder, seeing lightning, coming to a place where a miracle has occurred, etc. We also discover that many of the morning blessings were initially intended (and many still do this) to be recited while performing certain actions, such as the blessing over the body after using the bathroom, the blessing over crowning Israel with glory when covering one’s head, and so on.

Thursday, 17 February 2011 18:21

blessing of gratitude

art-mortgage“Please, Lord our God, do not make us dependent on the gifts or loans of other people, but only on Your full, open, holy and generous hand…” -- The Koren Sacks Siddur, p.982

It is a mitzvah to bless God before and after meals. The order of Birkat HaMazon takes us on a journey through various modes of thanksgiving as we see above from the third blessing, the blessing for Jerusalem.

Friday, 11 February 2011 18:39

morning blessings

art-siddur3One of the components of the birkhot hashachar (morning blessings) section of shacharit service is the section of saying a blessing over learning Torah. The standard is that one is not supposed to learn any Torah until having recited this blessing. As is the case with almost every other blessing, the act that follows the blessing must correspond to the subject at hand (in this case the subject is Torah learning). The particular passage chosen from the written Torah is Numbers 6:24-26 (The Aaronic Blessing). One of the sections of oral Torah selected is from B. Shabbat 127a:

Sunday, 06 February 2011 06:56

praise as humility

art-siddur1

“What are we? What are our lives? What is our loving-kindness? What is our righteousness… What shall we say before you, Lord our God?… Are not all the mighty like nothing before you?… Yet we are your people, the children of your covenant… Therefore it is our duty to thank you…” (The Koren Siddur, pg. 36)

Sunday, 30 January 2011 14:35

holy hands

art-washingOne of the first activities incumbent upon Jews as preparation for morning prayer and meals is the act of ritual hand washing. One of the more interesting features of this mitzvah is the language of the blessing one recites upon performance: 

 

 

Sunday, 23 January 2011 17:02

decide to encounter God

art-siddur4Decisiveness is a middah that really holds the amidah together. This shows up in a few particular ways.

Friday, 14 January 2011 05:37

the most natural order

art-siddur2Not surprisingly, the name for the collection of blessing and davening texts for the Jewish people is the siddur, which comes from the word, seder (order).

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 18:22

positive interruptions

art-siddur3

Our patience is tested the most when we encounter life circumstances that alter our vision of how the world around us should look. These circumstances most often come in the form of interruption.

Some interruptions are minor and irritating (traffic jam, long line at the market, etc.). Some interruptions feel devastating (death of a loved one, serious illness, etc.). Patience does not let us off the hook. We still have to do our part to initiate change, but patience is crucial in those circumstances in which we have to deal with the hand we've been given. A key prayer in the Siddur utilizes moments of interruption as opportunities to connect with God and one another: kaddish.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 18:14

lens of the amidah

art-siddur1There is a common question regarding prayer: If God is perfect, and I am imperfect, why would I need to pray for anything?

Friday, 24 December 2010 00:38

the power of separation

art-donotenterRav Shaul is very clear in his assertion that those members of the body of Messiah are to remain separate from a sexual world-view disconnected from that of Torah:

For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice, that each one of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, not [to be used] in the passion of lust… — 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5, Amplified Bible

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