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torah commentary
Monotheism and the problem of truth
Shabbat Nachamu, Parshat Etchanon, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 “You shall have no other gods beside Me!” This is the first of aseret hadibrot, literally the “Ten Declarations” or “Ten Commandments” found...
Aug 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
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The gift of ‘Solomon’s time’
Shabbat Chazon, Parshat Devarim Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22 Every year, Jews, as we have for more than two millenia, observe the fast of the Ninth of Av, marking the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, the...
Aug 10, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
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(Re)ordering our priorities
Parshat Mattot-Masei, Numbers 30:2-36:13 In this week’s double portion, Matot-Ma’asei, it seems that our biblical ancestors have questionable priorities. As plans get underway for the eventual move...
Aug 03, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of a unified community
Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1 This parshah seems to be a hodgepodge of loosely connected or disconnected themes. The reward for Pinchas, the order to attack Midian (that actual attack is defe...
Jul 28, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend
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Miracle tales
Parshat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob; your encampments, O Israel!” These beloved words in praise of Jewish community, which have become part of our everyday liturgy,...
Jul 21, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend
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Communal living a suprarational command
Parshat Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 Is it more important to devote oneself to personal, spiritual develop­ment or to work for the good of the nation? I believe that a good argument can be made that co...
Jul 13, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Charity’s a choice, tzedakah isn’t
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
May 08, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 150 150 recommendations | email to a friend
If we find our neighbor in trouble, we must help him or her. This isn’t just being neighborly; this is the law, our law. To help someone who is in trouble is not a choice, it’s an obligation. If we...
'The Case of the Blasphemer'
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Apr 30, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 152 152 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Emor Leviticus 21:1-24:23 Do you know the story, referred to as  “The Case of the Blasphemer”? Candidly,  I’d be surprised if you did. “The Case  of the Blasphemer” isn’t often included  in...
Fire, Brimstone and Positive Acts
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Apr 24, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 152 152 recommendations | email to a friend
  Parshat Kedoshim Leviticus 19:1-20:27 This week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim, starts with one of the most-oft quoted verses of the Torah: “Speak to all the people of Israel and say to them that you ...
Why is this Shabbat Different from All Other Shabbatot?
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Apr 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Acharei Mot/Shabbat haGadol – Leviticus 16:1-18:30 One of the primary features of this week’s parshah, Acharei Mot, is the description of the rituals by which Aaron, the high priest, would ...
You changed my sackcloth into robes of joy
by Rabbi David Novitsky Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa.
Apr 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 152 152 recommendations | email to a friend
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...
New moon, new months
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 27, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 153 153 recommendations | email to a friend
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...
That last bite of matzah has a special message
by Rabbi Barbara Symons, Temple David, Monroeville
Mar 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 155 155 recommendations | email to a friend
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...
The Purim paradox: Now more than ever
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend
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...
Little alephs need our help
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman, Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Mar 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
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...
Holy housewarming can strengthen community
by Rabbi Joe Hample, Tree of Life Congregation, Morgantown, W.Va.
Feb 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 157 157 recommendations | email to a friend
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...