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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".

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...]

Honoring the Dishonorable – Parshat Balak

Honoring the Dishonorable – Parshat Balak I don’t know about you, but I'm a fairly easy-going guy. Yet, there are still people who manage to get under my skin. Some are simply annoying while some are downright evil(this word may be not be PC but it is accurate). I would not want to have much to do with them yet sometimes I cannot avoid it. I would definitely not go out of my way to care for their honor. Yet we see time and again that the … [Read more...]

Do You Really Think You Can? – Parshat Korach

Do You Really Think You Can? – Parshat Korach  How we react to people's ambitions can have far-reaching effects. This is obviously true for the other person but it also holds true even for ourselves. How we react to ourselves and our dreams can have quite an effect on us and our dreams as well. It is not only in the words either. It may be in the tone in which it is said. Just think - in what tone you read the title of this piece? Encouragingly … [Read more...]

Frustration and Meaning – Parshat Bechukotai

Frustration and Meaning – Parshat Bechukotai How frustrating it must be for a farmer who has worked the entire season to see his crops totally destroyed due to an infestation, drought, tornado or flood. This crop meant that he would have had enough to eat, to feed his family and been able to ensure enough money to prepare next year's crop and parnassa(income).  This crop meant an awful lot to him. And now it is gone. This is the exact … [Read more...]

But I am Handicapped – Parshat Emor

But I am Handicapped – Parshat Emor The person who uses this line may believe that they are caring for themselves; that they are preventing further injury; that they are behaving prudently. And they will be right. And they may also be wrong. We would almost certainly not know which is correct for a specific handicapped person in a specific situation. At least I do know that the question is legitimate. In this week's parsha, Parshat Emor, the … [Read more...]

You Don’t Need to be Betazoid to be an Empath – Parshat Kedoshim

You Don’t Need to be Betazoid to be an Empath – Parshat Kedoshim In the Star Trek:TNG series, one of the characters was a Betazoid (a resident of the planet Betazed)  whose empathic qualities were so finely attuned that she was chosen as the ship's Counselor.  She was able to understand people and their concerns, worries and difficulties and therefore, was able to help them accordingly. Fortunately, Betazoids do not have a monopoly on … [Read more...]

Impurity is Not a Sin – Parshat Acharei Mot*

Impurity is Not a Sin – Parshat Acharei Mot* Being ritually impure doesn’t sound like something we would want to be. Though some 'extreme' enthusiasts might do it for the sport, most of us probably wouldn’t volunteer. On the other hand, being impure doesn’t reflect any kind of blemish – so, aside from Kohanim (priests), maybe we don’t really need to refrain from becoming ritually impure.** Not only is there little reason to refrain from being … [Read more...]

Being Spontaneously Spontaneous – 7th day Pesach

Being Spontaneously Spontaneous – 7th day Pesach Very often we have a real need for things to be orderly. Though it's true that some of us need it more than others, we can generally see the logic of it. It helps us find our clothes in the morning, arrive on time, and shop for the things we really need. Even our Pesach Seder has 'Seder'(order). That’s why it's so fascinating to see and even celebrate those instances when spontaneity rules.  We … [Read more...]

LLL or Lower Level Leprosy – Parshat Tazria

The World Health Organization has recently declared that diabetes has now reached epidemic levels. Many people have raised their eyebrows at this. Diabetes after all, as serious as it is, is a blood vessel/metabolic disease, not contagious, not carried by a bug and not treatable by antibiotics. Yet is so widespread they decided it needed a new classification. It is now an epidemic. The biblical leprosy, introduced in Parshat Tazria, was quite … [Read more...]

Suffering Traumatic Loss – Parshat Shemini

This is one of the most difficult topics we deal with in life. To start with, how we define traumatic loss is difficult. How we define loss is difficult and even how we define suffering is difficult. As a matter of fact, the word to suffer even has a dual meaning. In my Funk&Wagnall's dictionary that I received for my Bar Mitzva (yes, I still have it) among the definitions of the word suffer are 1. To feel pain or distress, and  2. To bear or … [Read more...]