Rabbi’s Blog

Reflections from Rabbi Philip

This Saturday is the Hebrew date of the 17th of Tammuz. Long observed as a fast day, it commemorates when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem ultimately leading to the destruction of the first Temple on the 9th of Av in 587 BCE. The three weeks between this day […]

17th of Tammuz

Many communities have the tradition to switch melodies during the middle of the poem Lekha Dodi, but why? For better or worse, our current practice of switching after the 5th stanza may not specifically have a deeper spiritual meaning, but it does show the strange interaction between the role of […]

New Melody for Lekha Dodi

Services on Friday night, February 23rd are cancelled because of the snow. Here is a D’var Torah for Parashat Tetzaveh The second half of the book of Exodus describes the construction of the portable sanctuary and the ritual objects which filled and that the priests would use in their service. […]

Tetzaveh: Snow Day D’var Torah

During parashat Beshallach, we read the song that the Israelites sang as they crossed the Sea of Reeds. While many liturgies include the full passage as part of daily and Shabbat prayer, two verses are more familiar because of its inclusion in the third blessing of both the evening and […]

Mi Khamokha

  In the original SNL sketch, Adam Sandler joked that the only Hanukkah song he ever heard was the Dreidel Song, which is why he wrote his Hanukkah song in solidarity with everyone else searching for better Hanukkah songs. The liturgy and Israeli folk tradition have a number of Hebrew […]

Maoz Tzur

While most people are familiar with the blessings and Debbie Friedman melody for havdalah, the ceremony includes a series of verses before these blessings. We will use this melody from the Modzitz community of Hasidim for these introductory verses before singing the familiar melody for the blessings. These verses come […]


We will begin using this melody from Mishkan Chicago for the final lines of the third psalm of Kabbalat Shabbat, Psalm 97. Most of the psalm is a description of God’s majesty over the earth, and the main theme is that God is supposed to instill some sort of justice. […]

Psalm 97

While many occasions require us to think about the clothes we wear, I think the hardest about what I’m going to wear when it comes time to do laundry. It’s a very specific type of outfit since it needs to be something that I’m not choosing to wash in that […]

Shalom Aleichem

The second psalm of Kabbalat Shabbat begins with another energetic call to worship: שִׁירוּ לַה’ שִׁיר חָדָשׁ שִׁירוּ לַה’ כָּל־הָאָרֶץ׃ Shiru l’Adonai shir hadash, shiru l’Adonai kol ha’aretz. Sing to Adonai a new song, sing to Adonai all the earth. There is a clear irony when we begin part of […]

Psalm 96: Can We Sing a New Song Every Week