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torah commentary
The meaning of ritual
This week we begin the Book of Leviticus: “The Eternal called Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel.’” This book is for the children of Israel. I...
Mar 19, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
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Talented in our own ways
Parshat Vayakhel-Pekude, Exodus 38:21-40:38 Every time I have to draw a picture, especially of the map of Israel, my students laugh. I am not an artist. Art was a required course in high school and...
Mar 12, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
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A different Moses emerges for all time
Parshat Ki Tisa Exodus 30:11-34:35 What is the significance of the dazzling radiance of Moses’ face and why did it not attain this shining glow until he received the second tablets on Yom Kippur? A...
Mar 05, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend
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The divine fragrance of memory
Parshat Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10 The Book of Exodus describes six ritual objects designed for use in the mishkan, the Taberncle: the Ark of the Covenant, the sacrificial altar, the menorah, the...
Feb 26, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend
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The gift of Cuban resiliency
Parshat Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19 “Adonai spoke to Moses, saying: Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him. And these a...
Feb 18, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend
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What makes us count
Parshat Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18 During my freshman year of college, I was one of the lucky ones. There it was in my mailbox waiting for me to be filled out, waiting for me to answer its many q...
Feb 12, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Faith vs. fear, foe vs. faux
Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Jul 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
Fateful and fraught is the number 40 in the Torah. Forty days of rain in the flood story, 40 days for Moses on Mt. Sinai, and 40 years wandering from Egypt to the Promised Land prove the power of t...
The irony of healing
Chukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1
by Rabbi David C. Novitsky
Beth Israel Congregation, Washington
Jun 30, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
At one time, there was a red heifer in Washington County, or so several individuals have told me. The Torah portion of this week discusses the red heifer. What exactly is a red heifer? The Bible in...
Location matters in disputes
Temple David Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32
by Rabbi Barbara Symons
Temple David
Jun 24, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
What is the proper arena for dispute? If you are a Food Network groupie, then you are familiar with the show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” In the territory of a chef’s kitchen, he cooks his own vers...
Temper mercy with anger when the kvetching starts
Shelach, Numbers 13:1-15:41
by Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner
Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va.
Jun 16, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
Kvetching is a great Yiddish word. It’s robust and full of flavor. And it’s something we find plenty of in this week’s Torah portion, Shelach. Twelve scouts are sent by G-d to the land of Canaan to...
‘Yitro Phenomenon’ is still with us
Behalotecha, Numbers 8:1-12:16
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman
New Light Congregation
Jun 10, 2011 | 1 1 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
“I have always believed I was Jewish,” Cathy said. This was her real reason for converting to Judaism, she confided to me. Though her ancestors came many generations ago from Sweden, she believed t...
Priestly blessing a reminder of 'shaddai,' 'shalom' Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman, Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Jun 02, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
Brought to You by the Letter ”Shin” (with thanks to the sofer Neil Yerman). Probably one of the best-known blessings comes from this Shabbat’s Torah portion: “May the Lord bless you and keep you. M...
Numbered or Innumerable? Bemidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20
by Rabbi Jamie Gibson, Temple Sinai
May 26, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s parasha, Bemidbar, a census is called for to divide the Israelites up into their tribes and fighting units. The numbers are carefully counted, except for the Levites, who will not be...
Different ways to give, Parashat Behukotai, Leviticus 26:3-27:34
by Rabbi Art Donsky, Temple Ohav Shalom
May 23, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
In the final chapter of Sefer Vayikra (Leviticus) in Parashat Behukotai we are presented with a description of three types of gifts that can be given for the sanctuary. The first type of gift is gi...
Jubilee reminds us we’re equal
Behar, Leviticus 25:1 — 26:2
by Rabbi Stephanie Wolfe
Beth Samuel Jewish Center
May 12, 2011 | 1 1 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
This week’s Parsha, behar, teaches us about the shmitah and Jubilee years for the Israelites. In the initial descriptions, these laws apply to the land and how we must give the land a rest every se...
G-O-D spells 'God'
Emor Leviticus 21:1-24:23
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation
May 05, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
Not “G-d.” At least for me. Yes, when I was younger and attended yeshiva in Detroit, it was “G-d.” God was also “Hashem,” “Adoshem,” “Elokeinu” etc. Anything but “God.” My first year at Michigan St...