In the Field, for You. (Re'eh)

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This Shabbat we welcome the Jewish month of Elul. Elul is the last month of the Jewish year and a time of preparation for the upcoming High Holidays. The Chassidic masters describe Elul as a time when “the King is in the field”; God figuratively leaves His inner chamber, His palace, His royal city and comes to be together with each of us, where we are – “in the field”. This is a most beautiful…

Keep It Simple (Va'etchanan)

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In this week’s portion Moshe reviews the experience of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. Often translated as the “10 commandments” the aseret hadibrot, given then, are more accurately translated as the “10 Principles”. In fact, there are a total of 613 commandments that we are potentially bound to by the Torah. Yet, G-d chose 10 principles to focus on at the moment of revelation. In fact,…

Marriage on The Moon

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“Tu B’Av” is the greatest Jewish holiday most Jews have never heard of. It’s the day that our tradition openly addresses the longing for of a loving, intimate relationship. Like other holidays (Sukot, Passover), it coincides with a full moon. Unlike, those other holidays, the full moon of Tu B’Av follows just a few days after the saddest and most painful day of the Jewish calendar - Tisha…

The Longing of Tisha B'Av Afternoon

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As we move into the afternoon hours of this sad day our strength grows. With space to breathe, we consider the Eternal longing for intimacy and closeness and with that thought we reconnect with our own.   We begin to acknowledge our own loneliness and desire for closeness with God, our spouse, our parents, our children, our siblings, our neighbor.   We ask - "What's holding…

The Genesis of Couples Therapy

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The Torah uses very few words to say an awful lot. It's view on marriage is famously condensed into one brief verse: עַל־כֵּן֙ יַֽעֲזָב־אִ֔ישׁ אֶת־אָבִ֖יו וְאֶת־אִמּ֑וֹ וְדָבַ֣ק בְּאִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃ "Therefore, a man should leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, so that they…

The Genesis of Couples Therapy - Part 2

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Last post we were left with a question but first a little background. Genesis tells us that the goal of marriage is for a man to leave his mother and father and attach himself to his wife. I proposed that Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT), of which I am a strong proponent, finds its primary theoretical roots in this biblical source. Imago assumes that our subconscious is on a mission to find an intimate…

Remember When...(Matot-Masei)

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After 40 years, the Jewish nation is on the cusp of entering into the Holy Land and God reviews with them the 42 stops of their long and difficult journey through the desert. God seems to want to communicate that despite all that they have been through together, He did not abandon them. Similarly, as they inhabit Israel and enter a more mundane existence, God reassures the nascent nation that He will…

Cover Up and...Connect?

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“And she lifted her eyes and saw Isaac....she descended from the camel….took the scarf and covered herself.” (Genesis 24:64-65) To understand the Torah’s approach to any given topic, the place to start is by analyzing the first instance that topic appears. So, Isaac and Rebecca, which is the Torah’s first description of a meeting between husband and wife can help us understand the Torah’s…

Getting Married? You Need to Know This.

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A young couple on the precipice of getting married once asked me: “What is the most important thing that we need to know about marriage”? I love questions like this. It forces me to put aside the “techniques” and tools that are often the merchandise of a marital therapist and delve into my fundamental beliefs about the project of marriage, its foundation and purpose. To preface, in addressing…

"Please Don’t Make Your Child Behave"

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I was browsing the library when two children, a boy and a girl were running up and down the aisles of books playing a noisy and apparently very enjoyable game of tag. The elderly gentleman sitting on the other side of my laptop station got up and found mom who was at one of the library computers. “Are you their mom?” his question burned. “Yes”, the blond thirty something distractedly responded.…