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torah commentary
He fled outside
Parshat Vayishlach, Genesis 37:1-40:23 The Torah is a very concise document. Every phrase and every word is carefully measured out for maximum effect. When there is a superfluous word or a phrase o...
Dec 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend
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‘Act Your Age!’
Parshat Vayishlach Genesis 32:4-36:43 So I took yet another one of those online quizzes today. This one seeks to guess my age using my answers to just six questions focused on pop culture. The firs...
Dec 04, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Like dreamers
Even with all the diversity among the Jewish people, one sentence epitomizes the Jewish relationship with the Land of Israel. It was around the year 500 B.C.E. when our psalmist put quill to parchm...
Nov 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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I had no choice
Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 A parable told in “The Midrash Says” helps explain how the twin brothers of this week’s Torah portion could end up so very different: “A myrtle branch and a thorn...
Nov 20, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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The peace we owe to Avraham
Parshat Chayei Sarah Genesis 23:1 - 25:18 In this week’s parshah, each member of Avraham’s family undergoes a fundamental transition: Sarah dies, Yitzchak and Rivkah meet and marry, Avraham dies, Y...
Nov 13, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Guess who’s coming to minyan
Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 I do not recommend nor do I advocate that the Jewish law regarding the composition of a minyan should be abrogated in any fashion. But I do admire the openness an...
Nov 05, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
The imperfect ideal
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Oct 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 There is a certain wisdom to the way Torah presents our people’s heroes. Rather than the idealized figures found in many other religious traditions, the characters ...
Healing has its spiritual side
by Rabbi Donni C. Aaron, Jewish Community Center
Oct 16, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 I always teach my students that there is a Jewish prayer for everything in the world.  Inevitably, I have a child who likes to challenge me and asks me in a silly way, “I...
The souls they made
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman, Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Oct 09, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 What happens between the 11th and 12th chapters of Genesis? We read at the end of chapter 11 that Terach moves with his family, including Avram and Sarai, from Ur to ...
The pot and the potter
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, New Light Congregation
Oct 03, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 When I attended Rodef Shalom as a child, I remember sitting in the balcony and gazing at the vaulted ceilings and the people in the pews below while listening to basso stir...
When worlds collide
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs, UPMC Shadyside
Sep 26, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6:8 Many people today think that disagreements between the Torah and science are recent, having arisen since the modern emergence of scientific theory. This is actually not tr...
Sukkot: A time of happiness and gratitude
by Rabbi Eli Seidman, Jewish Association on Aging
Sep 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
Sukkot One of the many names for the holiday of Sukkot (aka Booths) is zeman simchateinu (the time of our happiness).  Why, of all of the holidays, does Sukkot have the distinction of being called ...
Now is the opportunity for wholeness
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Sep 11, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
Yom Kippur “Forgiveness is a funny thing.  It warms the heart and cools the sting.” These words by William A. Ward, suggest that forgiveness brings comfort, similar to a cup of hot chocolate on a c...
Time of reflection is at hand
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Aug 28, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
Nitzavim-Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 Nelson Mandela has been in the news recently with reports about his failing health. The anti-apartheid activist who became South Africa’s first democratica...
A new twist to blotting out Amalek
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons, Temple David, Monroeville
Aug 15, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tetze, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 You wouldn’t know it from the start, but Ki Tetze is one of those special portions. We arrive at it once as part of the Torah reading cycle and we roll to it once ...
Strong roots lead to a sound future
by Cantor Richard M. Berlin, Parkway Jewish Center
Aug 08, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
Shoftim , Deuteronomy 16:18-21:19 Within Parshat Shoftim (Judges), it says: When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees...