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torah commentary
Living wills offer sense of strength, wholeness
Parshat Matot-Masei, Numbers 30:2-31:12 My son Harrison thinks it is strange when I say that helping families through the dying process and a funeral is one of the most rewarding parts of my rabbin...
Jul 21, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
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The key to Jewish survival
Parashat Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1 When the Torah counts the Jewish people in this week’s Parsha (Pinchas), each family is counted individually. When the Torah says the name of each family, it pr...
Jul 12, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend
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When a curse is transformed into a prayer
Parashat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9 What would we find in the Torah were we to open it up and look through its pages? Many would suggest we’d find “prayers.” As it happens, there are actually very fe...
Jul 05, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of acceptance
Parashat Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1 In the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, we break from the historical narrative of the Jewish people wandering in the desert. The Torah pauses to tell us a ...
Jun 28, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend
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A new sheriff in town? Not so fast
Parshat Korach, Numbers 16:1–18:32 Since the beginning of recorded time there have always been political challenges to the leadership and the establishment of every society and institution. Moses a...
Jun 22, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend
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Where there is no leader, strive to be a leader
Parashat Sheleach, Numbers 13:1-15:41 In the first aliyah of this week’s parshah Shelach Lecha, God speaks to Moses telling him to “send men … everyone a leader among them” to spy upon the land. Th...
Jun 14, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Carving out a new place leads to lasting change
by Rabbi Stephanie Wolfe, Beth Samuel Jewish Center, Ambridge
Nov 20, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 159 159 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 | 161 161 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 | 164 164 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 | 162 162 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 | 157 157 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...
Sukkot: A time of happiness and gratitude
by Rabbi Eli Seidman, Jewish Association on Aging
Sep 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend
Sukkot One of the many names for the holiday of Sukkot (aka Booths) is zeman simchateinu (the time of our happiness).  Why, of all of the holidays, does Sukkot have the distinction of being called ...