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torah commentary
Cultivating compassion
Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 Among the 72 mitzvot that are delineated in the parasha of Ki Tetzei, there is one that some consider to be an “easy” mitzvah. In Deuteronomy 22:6-7 we learn, “If...
Aug 27, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend
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Righteousness, justice
Parashat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9, Isaiah 51:12-52:12 This year, I was fortunate to spend my eighth summer at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem studying with about 170 colleagues fro...
Aug 19, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend
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For the children
Parshat Re’eh, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 We’re at the start of another year: or are we?  The civil year doesn’t begin till January.  But the Jewish year begins in just about a month, and the public s...
Aug 12, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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The spiritual dimension
Parshat Ekev, Deuteronomy 11:22-11:25 This week’s portion (Ekev) contains one of the most famous phrases in the book of Deuteronomy, although many people might be surprised to find that its origin ...
Aug 05, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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The joy of comfort
Recently, I saw the new Pixar movie “Inside Out,” an animated film for children with a lesson for adults.  Most of the film takes place inside the brain of Riley, an 11-year-old girl who is moving ...
Jul 30, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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What is your will?
Parashat Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22; Isaiah 1:1-27 Have you made your will? Perhaps you have made the will in which you dispose of your financial and physical estate. But have you made your ethi...
Jul 23, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Shabbat as a utopian ideal
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno, Rodef Shalom Congregation
May 02, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 169 169 recommendations | email to a friend
Behar-Behukotai, Leviticus 25:1-27:34 This week’s Torah reading is drawn from a double portion, Behar-Behukotai. Behar is associated with the laws of sabbatical; that is, we are instructed to allow...
You kiss your mother with that mouth? Blasphemy then and now
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Apr 25, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Emor, Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23 This week’s portion ends with a troubling story of blasphemy, social isolation and death.  (I know … a lot of our Torah portions have troubling stories of blasp...
‘Can’t we all just get along?’
by Rabbi James Gibson, Temple Sinai
Apr 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 147 147 recommendations | email to a friend
Achare Mot–Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1-20:27 Those famous words, “Can’t we all just get along?” were plaintively said by Rodney King, whose beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Police more than 20 ...
Getting it together
by Rabbi Joe Hample, Tree of Life Congregation, Morgantown, W.Va.
Apr 10, 2013 | 1 1 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend
Tazria-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33 Just between you and me, I feel a lot of ambivalence.  I’m full of faith and doubt, calm and stress, gloom and hope.  I’m an introverted extrovert, a sloppy per...
That which enters your mouth is also important
by Rabbi David Novitsky, Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa
Apr 04, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 136 136 recommendations | email to a friend
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 There are those who believe that the Jewish dietary laws were given to the people of Israel primarily for health concerns.  They maintain that the unclean animals enume...
A lingering lesson
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 29, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend
Chol Hamoed Pesach Without a doubt, Passover is my favorite holiday. Food was always at the center of my family’s celebration and remembrance of our people’s journey from slavery to freedom (yours ...
Hallelu Yah!
by Cantor Richard Berlin, Parkway Jewish Center
Mar 20, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat HaGaddol Leviticus 6:1–8:36 This year, Parashat Tzav is also Shabbat HaGaddol — the last Shabbat before Passover. On Monday night, we will all sit down to our first Pesach seder. We’ll ask ...
Some say yes, some say no; I say ‘what if?’ What say you?
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 14, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 141 141 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 Every Jew who lived through the Six Day War recalls the thrilling image of Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, holding a sefer Torah and blowin...
The first fundraiser
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman, Congregation Emanu-El Israel
Mar 07, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayakhel Pekudei Exodus 35:1 — 40:38 In the Jewish community, we are used to having fundraising campaigns. It is not something unique to the American scene. One can look throughout Jewish history a...
Uplifted faces bring peace, wholeness
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons Temple David, Monroeville
Feb 28, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 141 141 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tissa 30:11-34:35 Lately, I have been attending church. Perhaps that sounds odd for a rabbi to write.  Yet one of my goals for my current three-month sabbatical is to attend as many services as ...