Blog: Rabbi Feinstein

Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on January 28, 2019

The speaker stood at the podium and announced:
    “Ladies and gentlemen, a great miracle has just occurred!”

Members of the startled audience would immediately cease talking, lean forward wondering, what miracle could have happened? What miracle did they miss? He would then continue,
    “Ladies and gentlemen, a great miracle has just taken place...the sun has gone down.”

Now they would look at him strangely, some taken aback, incredulous, other might snicker at the strange man with the long beard and prophetic manner. Then he began to speak, and as he spoke, you began to feel deeply embarrassed that the sun had gone down, and you didn’t stop to notice. What part of us has been surrendered when the sunset no longer inspires?

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on December 13, 2018

When the angels of heaven learned of God’s plan to create the human being with the divine image, they were aghast.  

“How can God plant something as pure and holy as the divine image, in a create as deceitful, base and corrupt as the human being?” So they conspired to steal it and hide it from the human. But where, where to hide the holy image? The angels met in urgent council to decide.

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving is America at its best. Whether we arrived on the Mayflower, or immigrated generations later, Thanksgiving reminds us that we share a common history of redemption: We came from far away drawn by a dream of freedom. We met adversity with faith and persistence. We discovered opportunity and possibilities here. And now we share gratitude for the blessings of this land. That, together with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, makes this the quintessential American festival.

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on September 26, 2018

This is a story I tell to children. But it really isn’t for them. It’s for all of us who are tired of the phone ringing, the people who ask for just a little time, the family whose demands never end.  Did you ever wish they would all go away and leave you alone? And if they did, how long before you’d miss them? How long before you would discover that the greatest joy in life is knowing that you’re needed and you’re loved?

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on September 26, 2018

He sat before me, a typical petulant 13-year old. It was a week or so before his Bar Mitzvah and he had announced to his family at dinner last night that he didn’t believe in God and didn’t want to have a Bar Mitzvah. They didn’t know what to do. Cancel the simcha? The invitations already went out, the caterer had already been paid, the yarmulkas were on order… Send him to the rabbi. So here he sat. 
    “You don’t believe in God?” I asked him. 
    “No,” he confessed, with eyes cast downward, like he’d just told the Vice Principal that it was his spitball that hit the head cheerleader.
    “Ok, let’s talk.” He looked up at me relieved I wasn’t going to take out a magic wand and place a curse on him. 
    “You don’t believe in God. Ok. When you say that, what do you mean by God?” 
This was a question he did not expect. 
    “You’re a rabbi, you know... God.” 
    “Yes, but that’s a slippery word. What do you mean by God?”

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on September 13, 2018

As you drive north along the Eastern slopes of the Sierras, on the way up to Mammoth, just past the town of Lone Pine, you pass a desolate, lonely place called Manzanar. You should stop and visit. Today, Manzanar is a National Historical Site. In 1942, it was an internment site, one of ten along the West Coast, for more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans who were uprooted from their homes and imprisoned by the United States government following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese Americans were said to be spies, providing information to the Japanese command. With no evidence, they were accused of sabotaging the defenses of the West Coast, and inviting a Japanese invasion.

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on July 5, 2018

A time will come in the next generation when we will have to explain to our children and grandchildren how it was that even into the middle of the 20th century women were considered lesser. How could it be that opportunities and possibilities enjoyed by men were closed to women simply because they are women? And when they asked us how that changed, how women earned equal rights, there will be many stories to tell. Among the most dramatic will be story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, who was awarded the Genesis Prize for Lifetime Achievement this week in Jerusalem. In our times, moral heroes are hard to find. Especially in government. “RBG” is a soul to hold up and celebrate.

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on May 24, 2018

Reprinted from Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of American Jewish University's Today's Torah publication.

All of five feet tall in his stiff new suit and shiny shoes, he can barely be seen over the bima. In a cracking adolescent voice, he announces, "Today I am Bar Mitzvah. Today I am a man!" Yes, you are. But what do you know about being a man? A Jewish man? What can we tell you?

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on May 23, 2018

Rabbi Ed Feinstein guest stars on two podcasts: Jay's 4 Questions and 18 Questions with Rick Recht

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on May 3, 2018

I asked the children in our school -- what’s the difference between a noun and a verb?

Every child knew the answer: A noun is a person, place or thing. A verb is an action, something we do.

Then I asked them: What is “God” -- a noun or a verb? They all gave the answer -- God is a noun. God is a Someone, or maybe a Something, but definitely a noun.

So what can you tell me about that noun? I asked. Long pause, then: Nothing. God is beyond all description. God is infinite. There are no words to describe God.  

So I asked again -- What if God is a verb? If God is a verb, God would be something we do -- an act, a deed, a gesture. Can God be a verb?

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