Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Day 2

5 Minute Judaism Day 2


This prayer is usually recited after entering the synagogue.

“God, please cause the words of your Torah to be sweet, in our mouths, and mouths of your nation the Jewish people.

May all of us, ourselves, our children, and the children of the entire Jewish people, know your name and study your Torah with sincerity.

Blessed are you God, who has taught the Torah to the people of Israel.”

(The Hebrew, in transliteration, goes like this:

"V'ha-arev na Adonai eloheinu et divrei torat'cha b'finu uv'fi am'cha beit yisra-eil, v'nihyeh anachnu v'tze-etza-einu v'tze-etza-ei am'cha beit yisra-eil kulanu yod'ei sh'mecha v'lom'dei toratecha lishmah. Baruch atah Adonai, hamlameid torah l'amo yisra-eil.")

Commentary: We thank God for all of the physical blessings bestowed upon us, but forget spiritual blessings. As spiritual beings in the image of God, we need to nourish our souls, and we thank God for giving us the guidance of the Torah.

We also pray that our spiritual life have a sweet taste. Religion doesn’t have to be bitter!


People forget that prayer is about talking to God. You can actually pray without a prayer. This minute is a time to talk to God about anything that may be of interest or concern.

You may want to pick a different request than last week.


Genesis 2:1-3
א וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ, וְכָל-צְבָאָם. ב וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה; וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, מִכָּל-מְלַאכְתּוֹ
אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה. ג וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת-יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ: כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל-מְלַאכְתּוֹ, אֲשֶׁר-בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת

1. And the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He rested from all His work which God in creating had made.

Some points to ponder:

A. What is blessed about the Sabbath, and what is sanctified about it?
B. Why must an omnipotent God create in six days, with a seventh “rest” day?

Hint: The ability for life to perpetuate itself, for organisms to live independently after being created is a remarkable blessing. And to stop everything in order to contemplate the divine blessing that exists in everything is a truly sacred act.


Put a quarter away in a plastic bag. In 3 months we will collect it and pick a charity.



A Mezuzah is placed on the doorpost of the front door. (it’s also placed in the other rooms, but let’s start with the front door!). In it is a parchment inscribed with the passage of Deuteronomy 11:13-21 (The Shema prayer). In it , we express our faith in God, and our loyalty to the Torah.

You can usually obtain a mezuzah at a local Judaica store. I find it easy to afix the mezuzah case with double sided tape.

For details on placing a new mezuzah, check here:

If you already have a mezuzah, follow the following custom:

Place your hand on the Mezuzah as you leave the house, and ask God to watch over you during the day. (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 285:2).

The beauty of the mezuzah is it turns a house into a home. A house is just a building; but when you show that this building is filled with a sense of purpose and values, then this house is now a home, a place for a family to grow and thrive spiritually.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

5 Minute Judaism Day 1


This prayer is usually recited upon waking up, but can be recited the entire day. (Artscroll Siddur, page 3)

“Thank you God, the living and faithful God, Who has compassionately returned to me my soul; How great is your faithfulness!”

(The Hebrew, in transliteration, goes like this:

"Modeh ani l'fanecha, melech chai v'kayam, shehechezarta bi nishmati b'chemlah, rabah emunatecha")

Commentary: Perspective matters. Isn’t life different when you start the day off thinking how lucky you are to be alive, rather than getting grumpy and annoyed at every little thing that goes wrong?

Petition: People forget that prayer is about talking to God. You can actually pray without a prayer. This minute is a time to talk to God about anything that may be of interest or concern.


From Genesis, 1:27

כז וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ: זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, בָּרָא אֹתָם.

27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

Some Questions to consider:

a. What is it about human beings that truly is in the image of God?

b. If man is in the image of God, what is the religious value of kindness?


Put a quarter away in a plastic bag. In 3 months we will collect it and pick a charity.


Today’s ritual is “Netilat Yadayim shel Shacharit”, Washing your hands in the morning.

This ritual asks each person to pour a cup of water over each hand upon waking up. Custom has it for one to wash the right and then the left hand three times in a row.

Commentary: Each day upon waking, we are given a new lease on life. The gift of life is a calling, making all of us priests with sacred responsibilities.

Much like the priests in the Temple, we must remember the purity of our calling. We wash our hands like the priests did*, to symbolically remind us of our calling.

* for the curious, see Exodus 30:17-21

What is Five Minute Judaism?

Why I’m Starting This Website

Time flies, even when you don’t have fun. The 21st century is a technology driven, fast paced world where time is at a premium. There is 50-70 hours of work a week, family responsibilities, and all sorts of social events to attend. With all of these pressing priorities, there’s no time for our souls. Slowly, we are draining the spiritual out of lives.

Of course, we should spend more time on our spirits, and promise we will…….soon. Unfortunately, the amount of time spirituality demands is very high, driving away people who might otherwise be interested in Judaism. One hour, usually at night, for a Torah class, one or twice a week. 3 hours or more for a Shabbat morning service. Multiple rituals, all of which need to be studied and understood. For those who can follow this discipline and invest the time….keep it up!! But not everyone is ready for this type of commitment.

This website is for high speed Jews with very little time. People who’d like to experience more Judaism, but are intimidated by the amount of time it will take. Well, no more excuses!! Even 5 minutes a day is enough time for a religious revolution.

Once a week, there will be a 5 Minute Judaism update. Each will have 5 parts:

Prayer: a short prayer from the prayerbook.

Petition: a chance for each person to speak to God, about anything they want.

Torah: a short passage from the Bible, with a question to think about.

Charity: put 25 cents a day away. Every 3 months, will take the 18 dollars put away and pick a charity to support.

Mitzvah: a ritual associated with Judaism will be mentioned.

Each part should take at most a minute. After 5 minutes, you will have experienced a small taste of Judaism, a little bit of spirituality on the fly. After a year or two, you will find that even 5 minutes a day will transform you.