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torah commentary
Interconnectedness is a Jewish value
Parshat Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23 The American psyche holds independence in great esteem. Our nation was conceived not by people who saw themselves united in culture or history or through shared anc...
Feb 15, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
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First steps on the path to the Promised Land
Parshat Beshalach, Exodus 13:17 - 17:16 Redemption! Parshat Beshalach is a Torah portion of glory — glory in the Song at the Sea, the poetic celebration of liberation from Egyptian bondage, and glo...
Feb 09, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
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Genealogy only goes so far
Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16 Why is the killing of the firstborn the final, and most significant, plague? True, it brought death into every household, rattling Egypt at its foundations, but certai...
Feb 01, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend
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A condemnation of one’s own making
Parshat Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35 During this past summer I had the opportunity to spend a Shabbat with the Yeshiva High School boys at Camp Twin Echo in the Laurel Highlands. After Shabbat I stopped ...
Jan 25, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend
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Moshe’s curious mind
Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1 A new Pharaoh has risen.  The people Israel are enslaved and oppressed, and their very lives are in danger.  Into this frightening reality, a baby is born who then be...
Jan 19, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend
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Our top priority: Service to G-d
The Torah portion this week relates a fascinating exchange between father and son. Jacob was lying on his deathbed when he turned to his second to the youngest son, Joseph, whom at the time was the...
Jan 11, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
You changed my sackcloth into robes of joy
by Rabbi David Novitsky Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa.
Apr 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 152 152 recommendations | email to a friend
For more than half my lifetime I have done my best to help victims of violent crimes in their struggle to recover. I have counseled rape, murder, terrorist and abuse victims spiritually, emotionall...
New moon, new months
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 27, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 154 154 recommendations | email to a friend
Tazria Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The first Passover Seder is nearly upon us. How do we know? No need to look at the calendar; go outside and look at the moon. As our ancestors did, we too can look at the...
That last bite of matzah has a special message
by Rabbi Barbara Symons, Temple David, Monroeville
Mar 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The countdown to Passover is on. With that in mind, what will we do this year to make Passover less about food — especially decadent chocolate cakes preceded by a multi...
The Purim paradox: Now more than ever
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Zachor, Leviticus 6:1-8:36 One of my rabbis in seminary told this story: While serving as an Army chaplain, a soldier professed to him, “I believe every word in the Bible!” The rabbi replie...
Little alephs need our help
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman, Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Mar 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 In this week’s parshah, which is the beginning of the book of Leviticus, we have something very unusual in the Torah scroll.  The first word, Vayikra, which means “And H...
Holy housewarming can strengthen community
by Rabbi Joe Hample, Tree of Life Congregation, Morgantown, W.Va.
Feb 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Suppose you fell in love, and wanted your beloved to move in with you.  You would probably arrange the residence exactly the way s/he likes it, with the furniture positioned and the tchotchkes depl...
Life is most precious, but don’t diminish art’s value
by Rabbi David Katz Temple Ohav Shalom, Allison Park
Feb 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 153 153 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20 In 1980, when I began to date my wife, Nancy, she was already an accomplished painter, and her students were exhibiting at the Guggenheim Museum.  I liked her because sh...
We are all reflections of the Divine
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 14, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 153 153 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35 I recently had the option of purchasing the same bracelet in either silver or copper. The silver version was more expensive and elegant. There was something compelling,...
You light up my life
by Rabbi Michael Werbow, Congregation Beth Shalom
Feb 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 150 150 recommendations | email to a friend
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10 When one sits down to study Torah, there is much uncertainty as to where he will find meaning.  When a person takes the opportunity to study the weekly parshah, she ope...
Beyond the synagogue: Prayers with the seriously ill
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, New Light Congregation
Jan 30, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 153 153 recommendations | email to a friend
In my work as a multifaith chaplain for Forbes Hospice, I’ve encountered many elderly people who have become disconnected with their home church or synagogue.  Some of them are ill, but many are pe...