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torah commentary
You changed my sackcloth into robes of joy
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...
Apr 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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New moon, new months
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...
Mar 27, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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That last bite of matzah has a special message
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...
Mar 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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The Purim paradox: Now more than ever
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...
Mar 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Little alephs need our help
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...
Mar 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Holy housewarming can strengthen community
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...
Feb 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 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 | 24 24 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 | 25 25 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 | 18 18 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 | 12 12 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 | 14 14 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 | 8 8 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 | 13 13 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 | 15 15 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 ...