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torah commentary
An easy choice?
Parashat Re'eh “And God said, I have set before you today a choice: a blessing or a curse.” Now who in their right mind would choose a curse over a blessing? Throughout our Torah there are many lis...
Aug 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Using our memories as a guide
Parshat Ekev Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 When you look back at the current conflict in Israel, what will you remember? Will it be a focus on the missiles coming into Israel or those going out?  On Iron ...
Aug 13, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Change of Mood
After the tragedy of Tisha B’Av, our mood changes. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of Consolation. It takes its name from the words of Isaiah: “Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people...
Aug 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
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Reason together
Parshat Devarim Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22 My spiritual quest began in my lonely college years. If my peers didn’t understand me, maybe God would. I got involved with Hillel, took some Hebrew, went on a ...
Aug 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
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Meaningful midrash of Tisha B’av
The story of Kansa and Bar Kamsa (Talmud Gittin, 55) illustrates the divided nature of the Jewish people that ultimately led to the terrible destruction of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem on Tisha B’a...
Aug 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Israel’s borders – from Torah or diplomacy?
Mas’ei Numbers 33.1-36.15 In Mas-ei, which ends the book of Bemidar, our Torah outlines specific borders to the land promised by God to our people, a promise extending all the way back to Avraham a...
Jul 24, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Everyone counts
Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
May 24, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
This week, we begin the fourth book of the Torah — Bamidbar. In the portion bearing the same name, Moses is commanded to take a census of the people, to couxnt all who are over the age of 20 and ab...
What’s it Worth to You?
B’har/B’hukkotai Leviticus 25:1 –27:34
by Cantor Richard Berlin
Parkway Jewish Center
May 17, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend
We live in a time of materialism. We put a value on everything, whether a financial portfolio, the financial burden and impact of welfare and food stamps, or the crushing impact on unemployment and...
Happy and holy Mother’s Day
Emor, Leviticus 21:1 - 24:23
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
May 10, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
I write this D’var Torah on April 22. Today would have been my mother’s 95th birthday. We celebrated my mother’s last birthday in 2005 when my family gathered for Shabbat dinner at her residence at...
‘After death … there is holiness’
Parashat Acharei Mot - Kedoshim
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
May 04, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
In order to complete the reading of the Torah in a timely way this year, it is necessary to double up certain weekly Torah readings.  This week we read from a double portion, the combination of Par...
‘Icky, gooey, itchy’ parsha touts ageless role model
Tazra-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33    
by Rabbi Barbara Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Apr 26, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
“The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: ‘When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling, a rash or a discoloration, and it develops into a scaly affliction on the skin of his body, it sha...
Something to chew on
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47
by Rabbi Michael Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Apr 19, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
The pursuit to find reasons for the mitzvot is long standing. As far back as the Mishna, the Talmud and Midrash, (second century B.C.E. to fifth century C.E.) the rabbis were looking for “ta’amei h...
Do the tithe thing
Passover, Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17; Numbers 28:19-25
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Apr 12, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
The regular Torah reading for the eighth day of Passover discusses the consecration of all firstborn animals to God and the festival calendar, clearly connecting to the observance of the holiday. H...
Heed Kafka’s words this Passover
Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Apr 05, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
 Franz Kafka, a 20th century Jewish novelist, famously wrote, “You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world.  That is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature.  B...
Broken Hallelujah
Shabbat Hagadol 5772
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman
New Light Congregation
Mar 29, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend
“When do we eat?” my Aunt Florence would always ask 15 minutes after we began the seder. It is a source a disagreement in my family whether we should start early or late on seder night. Some argue ...
‘Days are scrolls — write on them’
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman
Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Mar 22, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
As we begin to read Vayikra/Leviticus this week, we plunge immediately into the details of sacrificial worship in ancient Israel. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 C.E. As it became clear...