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Thoughts on the weekly Torah portion from a logotherapist.

In logoParsha, you will find a series of articles on finding meaning in the Parsha (weekly Torah portion). The term logo is borrowed from logotherapy, a school of psychology founded by Viktor Frankl, author of "Man's Search for Meaning".

Happyize to be Happyized – Parshat Reeh

Happyize to be Happyized – Parshat Reeh Okay – you caught me. Happyize is not a real word. Til now.1 What do you think it means? To make someone happy. Or even yourself. Correct. That’s why this week's parsha, Parshat Reeh, is so fascinating. Creating happiness for self and others is mentioned at least 5 times in this parsha. What does it mean to be happy? How do you know when you are happy? My nephew once told me that he can't explain it – … [Read more...]

The Highness and Lowness of a King– Parshat Shofetim

 The Highness and Lowness of a King– Parshat Shofetim The concept of a king is actually a bit foreign to us in the 21st century. Though there are some 20 monarchies still in the world today,1 most of the world is governed by popular vote. Even many of the monarchies also have voting to determine the makeup of a government and legislature. We hear of kings and there are stories of kings but still it is a bit hard to grasp. That’s why I find it … [Read more...]

Meaning in Suffering – Parshat Ki Teitzei

Meaning in Suffering – Parshat Ki Teitzei Is there such a thing? It may even sound condescending or patronizing. In preparing for this blog, I had no clarity of topic. This week's parsha1 is so full of topics yet everywhere I looked I could find nothing to hook on to. So, I said, I will continue reading Dr. Elizabeth Lukas' book, 'meaning in suffering'(1986). I was up to chapter 3, Suffering and the Question of Meaning, when it hit me. This … [Read more...]

It Was All Me (Almost) – Parshat Ekev

It Was All Me (Almost) – Parshat Ekev We like to believe that we are in charge of our lives and that we can do whatever we truly put our minds to. In such a manner, we have conquered polio, sent a man to the moon and have put worldwide communications at your fingertips. We have overcome personal tragedies and faults to accomplish incredible things on a personal level. We have called upon internal strength and diligence. It is even empowering … [Read more...]

Today – Parshat Vaetchanan

                                Today – Parshat Vaetchanan                   One of the highlights of the high holiday prayers is right near the end of musaf. There is a song in which each line starts with the word 'Hayom', today. It is usually sung in a fast-paced upbeat tune and the word Hayom is often repeated. And the song is simply referred to as 'Hayom'. When a word is repeated in the Torah, there is a reason. And when a word is … [Read more...]

Control Over Fear – Parshat Devarim

                                           Control Over Fear – Parshat Devarim         Fear is an emotion. I have spent years speaking with clients about their emotions. Most of that time I was trying to help them to identify and legitimize their emotion reactions. I have even built up a defensive kind of reaction to a parent who says "don't be afraid", especially when we know how important fear can be. "The brave man is not he who does not … [Read more...]

The Wandering Jew – Parshat Masei

The Wandering Jew - Parshat Masei We make lists. Most of us do, anyway. Lists have a purpose. Every list is different. Shopping lists, packing lists, comparative lists, bucket lists, inventory lists, to do lists, etc., etc., etc. There are even lists of lists. But they all have a purpose. Each list has its own purpose. Even this week's parsha, Parshat Masei, has a list. It is a list of 42 different places that the Israelites visited in their … [Read more...]

Control Over Fear – Parshat Devarim

Control Over Fear – Parshat Devarim Fear is an emotion. I have spent years speaking with clients about their emotions. Most of that time I was trying to help them to identify and legitimize their emotion reactions. I have even built up a defensive kind of reaction to a parent who says "don't be afraid", especially when we know how important fear can be. "The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”1 So, I … [Read more...]

Making the “Right” Decision – Parshat Mattot

Making the "Right" Decision - Parshat Mattot There are times when people are able to overcome inner battles and do the right thing. The battle may even be so strong that overcoming it is close to heroic. If it is avoidable do we enter the battle willingly and forcefully? Do we avoid such situations? The answer is not simple and, of course, will depend on the individual and the situation confronted. In this week's parsha Parshat Mattot, we … [Read more...]

One For All and All For One* – Parshat Pinchas

One For All and All For One* – Parshat Pinchas What a wonderful feeling to have finally solved a question that’s been bugging me for years. In retelling the reasons for the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz, one of the 5 major reasons, or catastrophes, that befell the Jewish people on that day was the cancellation of the daily sacrifice. For years it bugged me – I could understand that the cancellation of the daily sacrifice was serious but … [Read more...]