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torah commentary
Being there in spirit
Parshat Matot Numbers 30:2-32:42 In this week’s Torah portion, representatives of the Tribes of Reuben and Gad approach Moses. They have prospered on the east side of the Jordan. They have many her...
Jul 16, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Seeing the big picture need not require standing on the vista
Parshat Pinchas Numbers 25:10-30:1 In this week’s Torah portion, God commands Moses to ascend the hills from the other side of the Jordan River and look into the land of Israel. God reminds him tha...
Jul 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Routine decisions can point us in the right direction
Parshat Balak Numbers 22:2-25:9 In this week’s Torah reading, King Balak of Moab retains the sorcerer Balaam to curse the Jewish people. Instead of curses, only blessings come out of his mouth. Whe...
Jul 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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In each generation ...
Parshat Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 One of the major events related in Parshat Chukat is the death of Miriam, the older sister of Moses and Aaron. Immediately after this, we read that the Israelites w...
Jun 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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How can things go wrong? Let me count the ways
German is the most frustrating language. I’ve done Russian, French and Hebrew. I’ve learned new alphabets, switched from left to right. But nothing beats a complex German sentence to make a new stu...
Jun 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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Jerusalem the Holy
R Bamidbar The capital cities of every nation on earth are built on major trade routes or rivers.   They became capitals because they were centers of commerce and easily accessible. Jerusalem is th...
May 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Do the tithe thing
Passover, Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17; Numbers 28:19-25
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Apr 12, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 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 | 16 16 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 | 28 28 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 | 14 14 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...
Understanding the tabernacle today
Vayakhel-Pekudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Mar 15, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
In this Shabbat’s Torah portion, which is a combined one, we once again get a detailed description of the building of the tabernacle. As a contemporary Jew, I used to find no meaning for myself in ...
Own up to mistakes; it’s the honest thing to do
Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11-34:35
by Rabbi Donni C. Aaron
Jewish Community Center
Mar 08, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
I think the following scenario may sound familiar to all the parents out there: One of my children did something they were not supposed to do. When my husband and I confronted our child, our child ...
Struggle against evil
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Mar 01, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
Let's remember Pearl Harbor As we go to meet the foe Let's remember Pearl Harbor As we did the Alamo We will always remember how they died for liberty Let's remember Pearl Harbor and go on to victo...
‘Stop! Pay attention!’ The Torah says so
Teruma, Exodus 21:1-24:18
by Rabbi Stephanie Wolfe
Beth Samuel Jewish Center, Ambridge
Feb 24, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
Think back to one week ago today.  Can you remember what you ate that day? Can you remember the various people you spoke with?  Do you remember what you said? These are the kinds of details that so...
Do it to them first, or turn the other cheek?
Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Feb 16, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
“Let’s do it to them before they do it to us.” — Sgt. Stan Jablonski (“Hill Street Blues,” 1981 TV series)   Sounds terrible, does it not? I remember when Sgt. Jablonski took over for Sgt. Phil Est...
All Jews don’t look like Barbra Streisand
Yitro; Exodus 18:1-20:23
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 09, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
As I write these words I am preparing for our congregational/community journey to Haiti. By the time you read them, I, along with 11 others from Pittsburgh, will be in Haiti, providing physical exa...