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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 | 14 14 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 | 23 23 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 | 33 33 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 | 40 40 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 | 44 44 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 | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend
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Two stories share message of abundance and hope
by Rabbi Ron Symons, Temple Sinai
Nov 27, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 162 162 recommendations | email to a friend
Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:17 I love Chanukah. I love Chanukah because of the latkes and the jelly donuts, the dreidels and the gelt, the family fun and the increasing light. While many of us share a ...
Carving out a new place leads to lasting change
by Rabbi Stephanie Wolfe, Beth Samuel Jewish Center, Ambridge
Nov 20, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23 Many of us have had those moments when we do something or say something and afterward think, “I’ve turned into my mother (or father).” It doesn’t matter how far away we...
Esau: pitiful or triumphant? Re-examining what sages say
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Nov 13, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayishlach Genesis 32:4-36:43 As you probably know, the members of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association take turns writing the weekly Torah commentary for this paper.  What you probably don’...
‘Walking to the sky’
by Rabbi David Novitzky Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa.
Nov 07, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 159 159 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayetzei, Genesis 28:10-32:3 In my opinion, one of the best sites to visit in Pittsburgh is Jonathan Borofsky’s “Walking to the Sky” exhibit located at Carnegie Mellon University. The sculpture is ...
Esau: good or bad?
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Oct 29, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 162 162 recommendations | email to a friend
Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 This week’s parshah is, in my opinion, a disturbing one. The story begins with the birth of the fraternal twins, Esau and Jacob.  From the beginning it is clear they are ...
The imperfect ideal
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Oct 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 161 161 recommendations | email to a friend
Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 There is a certain wisdom to the way Torah presents our people’s heroes. Rather than the idealized figures found in many other religious traditions, the characters ...
Healing has its spiritual side
by Rabbi Donni C. Aaron, Jewish Community Center
Oct 16, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 155 155 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 I always teach my students that there is a Jewish prayer for everything in the world.  Inevitably, I have a child who likes to challenge me and asks me in a silly way, “I...
The souls they made
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman, Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Oct 09, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 What happens between the 11th and 12th chapters of Genesis? We read at the end of chapter 11 that Terach moves with his family, including Avram and Sarai, from Ur to ...
The pot and the potter
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, New Light Congregation
Oct 03, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend
Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 When I attended Rodef Shalom as a child, I remember sitting in the balcony and gazing at the vaulted ceilings and the people in the pews below while listening to basso stir...
When worlds collide
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs, UPMC Shadyside
Sep 26, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 154 154 recommendations | email to a friend
Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6:8 Many people today think that disagreements between the Torah and science are recent, having arisen since the modern emergence of scientific theory. This is actually not tr...