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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



Torah Reflections: Conversations on the Weekly Parshah


Integrating Torah into one’s life through reflection and conversation can be an incredibly fun and engaging experience. It’s a journey of discovery, where ancient wisdom and timeless teachings come to life in our daily experiences. Through reflection, we have the opportunity to dive deep into the rich tapestry of Torah, extracting profound insights and lessons that resonate with our modern lives. The joy lies in the ‘aha’ moments, those instances when a Torah verse or story suddenly connects with our personal challenges, aspirations, and values. And when we engage in conversations about Torah with others, it becomes an interactive exploration, where diverse perspectives and interpretations enhance our understanding. These dialogues often spark excitement and intellectual curiosity, making the learning process both enjoyable and fulfilling. Torah becomes a vibrant and dynamic part of our lives, offering not just guidance but also a source of endless fascination, connection, and growth.

NOTE: Don’t feel obligated to go through every source or answer all the questions—unless you want to. Even one source, or one question will give you plenty of material for discussion and meditation. Enjoy this!

Some thoughts from the parsha

In Exodus 10:21, the L-rd commands Moses to bring darkness upon the land of Egypt, a darkness that is not just the absence of light but a tangible and oppressive darkness. This darkness is described as “doubled and redoubled,” making it difficult for people to stand or sit. The nature of this darkness is linked to the darkness mentioned in Genesis, indicating a significant spiritual aspect. The Sages compare this darkness to a coin, emphasizing its corporeal and fallen state. The analogy of a coin reflects the dual nature of money – it can either sustain life and represent Divine abundance or become a tool of greed and oppression. The Egyptians’ experience of this darkness symbolizes the consequences of their idolatry and oppressive use of wealth. In contrast, the Jews had light in their dwellings, symbolizing their belief in G-d and the interconnectedness of Creation.

Questions for discussion and personal reflection:

  1. Have there been moments in your life when pursuing material wealth or external sources led to a sense of darkness or emptiness?
  2. Reflect on a time when you felt spiritually illuminated or connected to a higher purpose. What contributed to that sense of light?
  3. In your own journey, do you find parallels between the tangible darkness in the biblical passage and moments when external pursuits obscured deeper spiritual insights?
  4. Consider the concept of a “fallen” state, as described in the analogy of a coin. Are there aspects of your life where you perceive a need for spiritual elevation or rectification?
  5. How do you maintain a sense of spiritual light and interconnectedness amidst challenges and external pressures? Reflect on practices or beliefs that contribute to this light in your life.

Shabbat Shalom!

By Rabbi Tani Burton

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