P.J. Schwartz

P.J. Schwartz is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. He serves as a rabbinic intern at Isaac M. Wise Temple and rabbinic chaplain at Jewish Family Services in Cincinnati.

Love Is Not Enough: The Demands of Relationship with God

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Elyse Goldstein

Another name for this week's Torah portion is Parashat HaToch'chah — the portion of reproach. It contains a list of curses so terrible that traditionally the Torah reader chants them quickly and in a hushed tone so as not to call attention to them. And no one wants that aliyah! The curses are the punishment for disobedience, and they must have truly struck fear in the hearts of our ancestors. The curses come just after the promise of blessing — if we follow God's ways. Rain in abundance, good crops, peace, victory, and fertility are all ours if, as the portion begins, ". . . you walk in my statutes and guard my commandments and do them" (Leviticus 26:3). We might mistakenly feel the parashah is about the classic "reward and punishment." But I see it differently. I see it as an apt closing for the Book of Leviticus, which began with a call to relationship — Vayikra — and ends again with a call to relationship. God's message can be interpreted as, "If you are a true partner with Me then our relationship will be healthy, but if you ignore Me, spite Me, hurt Me, and leave Me, how can we possibly go on together?"

Practice Positive Pessimism and Partner with God

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Dr. Edwin C. Goldberg

Most of us have grown up with the power of positive thinking. We've been warned about negative outlooks and what popular psychologists call "catastrophizing." To have a successful outcome when facing a problem, we're told that we need to avoid the bad and focus on the good.

In All That We Do, We Remember Them

P.J. Schwartz
re·mem·ber /ri-mem-b∂r/ Verb Have in or be able to bring to one's mind an awareness of (someone or something that one has seen, known, or experienced in the past). Do something that one has undertaken to do or that is necessary or advisable.