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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 | 1 1 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 | 2 2 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
World without words
Parshat Tazria Leviticus 12:1-13:59
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs
UPMC Shadyside Hospital
Mar 30, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
As one Arab regime after another falls, I am reminded of the famous line, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” The ability to instantaneously communicate through social networking sites was key to...
Kashrut and holiness
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47        
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Mar 24, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
Back in August 2010, just before Rosh Hashana, the JTA ran a story about Jews that kept kosher only during the holidays. It described Jews who buy kosher wine for Shabbat or holidays, even though t...
Remembering what makes us one
Leviticus 6:1-8:36
by Rabbi Donni Aaron
Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Mar 17, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
Studies have shown that musicians have a better memory — not just for music, but words and pictures too. If you have ever watched “American Idol,” you know that this is so. In the finale episodes t...
Be humble, but not too humble
Vayikra; Leviticus 1:1-5:26
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 10, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayikra, the last letter of the first word, an alef, is written smaller than the rest of the letters in the word. Simcha Bunem of Przysucha provides one interpretation...
Shabbat Shekalim: A little bit goes a long way
Pekudei, Exodus 38:21-40:38
by Rabbi Scott Aaron
Agency for Jewish Learning
Mar 03, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
March 5 is Shabbat Shekalim, one of four special Shabbats preceding Passover in the Hebrew month of Adar that have special thematic Torah readings in addition to the scheduled Torah portion for tha...
The embroidered screen
Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman
Temple B'nai Israel, White Oak
Feb 28, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
Construction of the mishkan, the portable sanctuary, is the main subject of Vayakhel, this week’s Torah portion. The gathering of materials, the appointment of artist/managers, the fabrication of c...
Jewish heroes made the right moves on Purim
Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35
by Rabbi Joseph S. Weiss
B’nai Emunoh Congregation
Feb 17, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
This week would be Purim, if it were not a leap year in the Hebrew calendar, and we would have read the Megilla. In the Megilla of Esther, Mordechai overhears Bigthan And Terresh plotting secretly ...
Tetazaveh – Where is Moses?
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 10, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
Jewish tradition teaches that as Moses was the Israelites’ first political leader, his older brother, Aaron, was their first religious leader. Yet for all their unique accomplishments, neither Aaro...
If you build it, God will come; if you don’t, God won’t
South Hills Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Feb 03, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
“Do you ever have doubts about God?” One of my confirmation students asked me this question recently. I took her question seriously. I wanted to give her not merely a quick answer, but a good one. ...
Is idolatry still with us?
Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Jan 20, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
Who are your idols? When reviewing the Ten Commandments, many of us probably skim the second commandment, the one about idols. That was a biblical commandment for biblical times, right? Yet because...