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torah commentary
He fled outside
Parshat Vayishlach, Genesis 37:1-40:23 The Torah is a very concise document. Every phrase and every word is carefully measured out for maximum effect. When there is a superfluous word or a phrase o...
Dec 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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‘Act Your Age!’
Parshat Vayishlach Genesis 32:4-36:43 So I took yet another one of those online quizzes today. This one seeks to guess my age using my answers to just six questions focused on pop culture. The firs...
Dec 04, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Like dreamers
Even with all the diversity among the Jewish people, one sentence epitomizes the Jewish relationship with the Land of Israel. It was around the year 500 B.C.E. when our psalmist put quill to parchm...
Nov 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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I had no choice
Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 A parable told in “The Midrash Says” helps explain how the twin brothers of this week’s Torah portion could end up so very different: “A myrtle branch and a thorn...
Nov 20, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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The peace we owe to Avraham
Parshat Chayei Sarah Genesis 23:1 - 25:18 In this week’s parshah, each member of Avraham’s family undergoes a fundamental transition: Sarah dies, Yitzchak and Rivkah meet and marry, Avraham dies, Y...
Nov 13, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Guess who’s coming to minyan
Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 I do not recommend nor do I advocate that the Jewish law regarding the composition of a minyan should be abrogated in any fashion. But I do admire the openness an...
Nov 05, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Did God really harden Pharaoh’s heart?
Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16
by Rabbi Martin William Shorr
Hadar Israel, New Castle
Jan 26, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
There are two points to be shared in this week’s portion, Bo: First is in the very beginning of the passage, “Come to Pharaoh for I have made his heart, and the heart of his servants hard, so my si...
Pausing to think
Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs
UPMC Shadyside
Jan 18, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend
Prior to the plague of hail, Pharoah and the people of Egypt were warned that anything left out in the field would be crushed and destroyed by the hail. The Torah relates that those who feared the ...
Get the name right!
Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
by Rabbi Audrey Korotkin
Temple Beth Israel, Altoona
Jan 13, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
Days before my rabbinic ordination, I got a chance to see my smicha certificate for the first time — and was aghast. The calligrapher had gotten my Hebrew name wrong! Not mine, but my dad’s, which ...
Jacob’s ethical will
Jewish Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26
by Rabbi Eli Seidma
Jewish Association on Aging
Jan 05, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
In my work with Sivitz Jewish Hospice, I often help patients review the events of their lives and pass along wisdom and advice to the next generation. People discuss the decisions they made, the re...
The mitzva of taking
Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Dec 30, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
No, not the “mitzva of giving” (although I know it is the season). I once met a man who explained to others that the reason we tear our garments at a time of mourning is to let others know to leave...
Where God fits into Chanuka
Miketz, Genesis, 41:1-44:17
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Dec 22, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
I would like to get the bumper sticker that says, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” but I am afraid that people would take it the wrong way. My reasoning: The more that Christmas becomes secularized, the...
‘From darkness to light’
Veyeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Dec 15, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeshev, our patriarch Jacob learns of the supposed death of his beloved son Joseph. In point of fact, Joseph is not actually dead, but rather has been sold into slav...
What’s in a name? A lot!
Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4-36:43
by Rabbi Michael Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Dec 08, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” — Shakespeare Each one of us received a name when we were born.  Our parents thought long and hard to give us a...
Great good comes from ordinary people
Vayetze, Genesis 28:10-32:3
by Rabbi Joseph S. Weiss
Bnai Emunoh Congregation
Dec 01, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
The Torah is always very economical with its words. We have very little biographical detail about any of the patriarchs, of Moses growing up in the household of Pharoah. We are introduced to Abraha...
Instant gratification
Toledot, Genesis 25:19-28:9
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Nov 23, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
“The boys grew up. Esau became a skilled trapper, a man of the field. Jacob was a scholarly man who remained with the tents.” — Genesis 25:27 Jacob and Esau were fraternal twins, but they couldn’t ...