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torah commentary
A failure of leadership and Moses’ downfall
Parshat Ha’azinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-52 This is one of the shorter sections of the Torah, and it is made up almost entirely of a breathtaking and chastening poem. The term “awesome” tends to be overu...
Oct 13, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
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Yom Kippur as festive wedding day
Parshat Vayeilech, Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30 This week we will be celebrating Yom Kippur. More Jews will be going to a synagogue on this day than any other day in the year. How can we be sure that we ...
Oct 05, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
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Standing together for what is right
Parshat Nitzavim, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 Atem nitzavim hayom kulchem — these words that I practiced over and over again some 48 years ago as I trained for my bar mitzvah. These words that my whole ...
Sep 28, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend
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Upward and onward … and don’t look back!
Parshat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 One of the most beautiful and popular verses in Torah is found in this week’s Parshah, Ki Tavo. In the midst of showering the People of Israel with blessings,...
Sep 22, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend
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Erasing and rewriting Amalek’s name
In Jewish tradition a reference to Amalek is a reminder in every generation of all who have ever sought to rise and destroy our people. As Moses implores, in this week’s Torah portion Ki Teitzei, w...
Sep 15, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend
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Our great community of leaders
Parshat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 At the end of Parshat Shoftim the Torah teaches us the mitzvah of “Eglah Arufa.” This mitzvah is that if a man is found lifeless in the countryside and it i...
Sep 07, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend
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Communal living a suprarational command
by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Jul 13, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 62 62 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 Is it more important to devote oneself to personal, spiritual develop­ment or to work for the good of the nation? I believe that a good argument can be made that co...
The importance of memory, especially to our history
by Cantor Michal Gray-Schaffer
Jul 06, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 72 72 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshaht Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 In this week’s Torah portion, a rebellion breaks out against Moses’ leadership, led by the Levite Korach, Reubenites Dathan and Abiram and 250 chieftains of the ...
When the minority gets it right
by Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel
Jun 30, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Shelach Numbers, 13:1-15:41 This week’s Torah portion is Shelach, the story of the 12 spies, sent by Moses to explore and learn more about the Promised Land — this land G-d had promised our...
The power — and importance — of words
by Rabbi Yaier Lehrer
Jun 23, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend
Aaron and Miriam are speaking to each other. They criticize their brother for having married a Kushite woman.  God becomes angry at their speech and calls them to the Tent of Meeting. He chastises ...
The power of uplift, to make a day brighter
by Rabbi Elchonon Friedman
Jun 15, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 90 90 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Nasso, Numbers 4:21-7:89 A few weeks ago at a shiva home, I heard a bereaved mother speak lovingly of her beloved daughter, Rivka. She related how, until Rivka’s funeral, she hadn’t fully a...
Look into the eyes
by Rabbi Ron Symons
Jun 08, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 87 87 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 It was quite an endeavor. Moses was commanded to count every male of Israel over the age of 20 who was able to serve in the army. He was some 82 years old and rec...
A lesson in the importance of connection
by Rabbi Shimon Silver
Jun 02, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 90 90 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Bechukotai, Leviticus 26:3-27:34 The primary focus of the first half of this parsha is the connection between observing the Torah and meriting peace and tranquility in Israel. Or, G-d forbi...
Tending to the ‘invisible’ wound
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
May 25, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 91 91 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Behar, Leviticus 25:1-26:2 There is a new hashtag trending on social media.   The tag is #maybehedoesnthityou , and it offers women a chance to share their experience with domestic violence...
The importance of the counting of the Omer
by Rabbi Daniel Yolkut
May 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 85 85 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23 In this week’s Torah portion, Emor, we encounter a timely mitzvah — the counting of the Omer. The Torah commands that starting with the second day of Passover, ev...
Ascending to holiness
by Rabbi James A. Gibson
May 11, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 78 78 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27 So, just how do we do it? We are given a direct order in the very beginning of our parshah, kedoshim tihiyu, ki kadosh ani — “you shall be holy for I (your Go...