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torah commentary
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 | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of memory, especially to our history
Parshaht Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 In this week’s Torah portion, a rebellion breaks out against Moses’ leadership, led by the Levite Korach, Reubenites Dathan and Abiram and 250 chieftains of the ...
Jul 06, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
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When the minority gets it right
Parshat Shelach Numbers, 13:1-15:41 This week’s Torah portion is Shelach, the story of the 12 spies, sent by Moses to explore and learn more about the Promised Land — this land G-d had promised our...
Jun 30, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend
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The power — and importance — of words
Aaron and Miriam are speaking to each other. They criticize their brother for having married a Kushite woman.  God becomes angry at their speech and calls them to the Tent of Meeting. He chastises ...
Jun 23, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend
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The power of uplift, to make a day brighter
Parshat Nasso, Numbers 4:21-7:89 A few weeks ago at a shiva home, I heard a bereaved mother speak lovingly of her beloved daughter, Rivka. She related how, until Rivka’s funeral, she hadn’t fully a...
Jun 15, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend
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Look into the eyes
Parshat Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 It was quite an endeavor. Moses was commanded to count every male of Israel over the age of 20 who was able to serve in the army. He was some 82 years old and rec...
Jun 08, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
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...
Life is most precious, but don’t diminish art’s value
by Rabbi David Katz Temple Ohav Shalom, Allison Park
Feb 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 152 152 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20 In 1980, when I began to date my wife, Nancy, she was already an accomplished painter, and her students were exhibiting at the Guggenheim Museum.  I liked her because sh...
We are all reflections of the Divine
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 14, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 153 153 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35 I recently had the option of purchasing the same bracelet in either silver or copper. The silver version was more expensive and elegant. There was something compelling,...
You light up my life
by Rabbi Michael Werbow, Congregation Beth Shalom
Feb 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 149 149 recommendations | email to a friend
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10 When one sits down to study Torah, there is much uncertainty as to where he will find meaning.  When a person takes the opportunity to study the weekly parshah, she ope...
Beyond the synagogue: Prayers with the seriously ill
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, New Light Congregation
Jan 30, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 152 152 recommendations | email to a friend
In my work as a multifaith chaplain for Forbes Hospice, I’ve encountered many elderly people who have become disconnected with their home church or synagogue.  Some of them are ill, but many are pe...
Talking and walking, they need each other
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman, Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Jan 22, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 155 155 recommendations | email to a friend
Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18 With the portion Mishpatim, the narrative parts of the Torah are now largely behind us. There are more stories scattered throughout the remainder, but from now through ...