This sermon is shared as part of a collection of resources linking the Days of Awe with care for […]
The past year makes way for new. Look back at our roads less traveled. Lean forward into what’s yet to […]
This prayer is shared as part of a collection of resources linking the Days of Awe with care […]
Here are three resources for Tisha b’Av, which this year falls (on the Gregorian calendar) on August 13-14. Rabbi Sami […]
by Simcha Paull Raphael On the last day of Passover it is traditional to recite Yizkor prayers in […]
April 22 is Earth Day, and that same evening we will enter into the festival of Pesach, season […]
This poem, which draws on a Hasidic teaching from the Sfat Emet, is a companion piece to Rabbi […]
This essay, which draws on a Hasidic teaching from the Sfat Emet, is a companion piece to David Aladjem’s poem “A Scent of the Soul.”
Purim is a holiday that rouses the senses. We engage in the mitzvah of hearing the megillah chanted aloud, we eat symbolic foods like hamentashen, we watch colorful costume parades, and we reach out and touch others through sharing Purim gifts, called mishloach manot.
The one sense unaccounted for is smell.
Smell is the hidden sense of Purim. It is also the most essential, which befits Megillat Esther, in which the most significant parts of the story are hidden.
The Talmud states: “Rava said that one is obligated to make oneself intoxicated (l’bsumei) on Purim until one cannot tell the difference between ‘cursed be Haman’ and ‘blessed be Mordechai’” (B.T. Megillah 7b).
Yehuda Leib Alter, a late 19th-century Hasidic master known as Sfat Emet, makes the connection that the word l’bsumei shares a root with bisamim (fragrance/scent). This demonstrates that, through our sense of smell, we are able to blur the boundaries of knowing the villain from the hero of the Esther narrative, entering into a different type of consciousness in which duality does not exist.
This year we rededicate ourselves to caring for our living planet as a place of holiness. Tu BiShvat, the […]
A message before Chanukah from Rabbi Shohama Wiener, ALEPH’s Rosh Hashpa’ah (Head of Spiritual Direction) One of the […]