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Rachel Barenblat
Rachel Barenblat became a rabbi in January of 2011, and has been blogging as The Velveteen Rabbi since 2003.
Interests: Judaism, religion, ecumenism, poetry, motherhood, Christianity, Islam, liturgy, prayer, midrash, fandom.
Recent Activity
MY TORAH is a tall drink of water on a thirsty day the longer I know him the more beautiful he becomes I want to hold him close and press my lips to his shoulder to unfasten his gartel with... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 49: BACK TO THE SUMMIT The first seder, he said, is like an airlift to the top of the mountain. The matzah, the singing, the egg dipped in salt water—all mnemonics for the journey you haven't yet taken. When... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 48: THE WEDDING The wedding's in two days and all the guests are arriving. Look, there's your best friend and your great-aunt and the grandparent you haven't seen in half of your lifetime. If you squint you might catch... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
On the third new moon after leaving Egypt we entered the wilderness at Sinai and camped by the mountain. God called us a holy nation and claimed us for Her own. Enraptured we promised we'd do anything, as lovers do.... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 46: FOUR DAYS Imagine a four-day calendar. Four empty rectangles waiting. Now add an overlay blazoned with the four letters of the Name we never pronounce, or maybe we whisper it with every breath. Make the letters bold, great... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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I have long been a fan of Ritualwell, an online resource center where one can learn about Jewish rituals and practice, browse a large bank of new and innovative Jewish prayers and rituals, and find resources and materials to enhance... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 45: INTERCESSION Today's a good day to intercede with God. Don't let sheepishness hold you back. When the Holy One grew furious that we'd dallied with idols, Rachel put her hands on her hips, pointed out that when Jacob... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 44: SONG OF THE WETLAND Don't bend down like the willow trailing her fingertips in the pool. Cup your hands, gather the waters that flow around the reeds. Rejoice in the sedge and bulrush, the pussywillows and red-winged blackbirds:... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
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Here's the d'var Torah I offered yesterday at my shul. (Cross-posted to my From the Rabbi blog.) This week's Torah portion, Behar-Bechukotai, teaches that every seventh year we must give the land a rest. Every seventh day we get Shabbat,... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 43: BEYOND NUMBER Thank God for the gift of another day. Check the mile marker: what's the number? We're almost there. One more week of sifting days like grains to measure how they fall, and then -- Torah pouring... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
A few years ago I posted about two little boys who were fighting cancer, named Gus and Sam. At the time, Gus was four and had recently undergone brain surgery to remove a tumor; Sam was six and was undergoing... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 42: TORAH IS HER NAME Torah quenches thirst on a hot day. In space there's no oxygen, but there is Torah. Remember hearing lightning, seeing thunder? God invited Moshe ben Amram to climb Horeb to taste and see that... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 41: FOUNDATION Whether slab or basement or crawlspace's neither/nor in-between, fit intention to where you'll be rooted. Know how deep you need to sink your pilings how broad a base will hold what you yearn for. Imagine the gilded... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 40: TERUMAH after the Degel Machaneh Efraim When Torah says tell the Israelites to bring Me gifts for cobbling together My patchwork residence (gold, silver, and copper crimson and cerulean yarns acacia wood, bolts of linen tanned leather and... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 39: REOPENING THE WELL The well won't run dry. You might have to scoop chalky dust with your hands, remove the rock that's wedged in the channel but the water is there. The water wants to flow. Can you... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 38: BURDEN a psalm of comfort Set down your pack. Wrap your arms around your chest. Let your shoulderblades unfurl like wings. Let me rub the knots from your palms, smooth the shadows from under your eyes. Lean back:... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Many thanks to the editors at the Berkshire Jewish Voice for running such a lovely article! You can read the May 1 to May 31 2015 edition of the Berkshire Jewish Voice at their website [pdf], or -- for those... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 37: PRAIRIE WEDDING Driving west from Massachusetts to Seattle, I noticed a shift midway through Minnesota. The beginning of prairie. The skies opened up like my memories of Texas, sunset a great splash of watercolors across the most immense... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 36: SIX Six days of creation before pausing. Work-day, week -day, ordinary time. Incomplete without the capstone, the adornment: silver candlesticks and braided egg bread, six sweet psalms representing the week then the hymn welcoming what's holy. Penultimate. Bridesmaid,... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 35: SACHIA MATA Sand in the air. A battered white Ambassador drove through scrub past gabbling cranes. The driver pulled over. With a steady stream of pilgrims. we took flight after flight of exterior stairs passing ornate archways festooned... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 34: UNSPOKEN At the edge of the sound wind flaps our coats like sails. Sand shifts beneath our inappropriate shoes. Your shoulder touches mine there and then gone. We don't have to try to match our strides. Our hearts... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
33: GOOD The thirty-third word in the Torah is "good." After each act of speaking the universe into being God paused and saw the good. Light is good. Darkness: good. Also the balance between the two. Every geological feature. Every... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 32: SING PRAISE Let the gurgle of the coffee pot as it approaches completion sing praise. Let the percussive pop of the toaster revealing the rough and craggy surfaces of English muffins sing praise. The jangle of silverware in... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 31: SEVEN STOPS The Zohar says after death each soul is judged seven times. Pallbearers make seven stops on the way to the grave which means our progress shambles, pauses begins again as though we were reluctant to reach... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi
DAY 30: WHAT THE CREATOR CREATES A gazelle, sprinting. The graceful neck of the giraffe. Seahorses bobbing gently, fluorescent in their tank. These are easier to love than the spiny echidna, the scorpion, the swarm of carpenter ants. Can I... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2015 at Velveteen Rabbi