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torah commentary
Let’s make a deal!
Parshat Vayetsei, Genesis 28:10-32:3 In this week’s portion, parashat Vayetsei, it seems that everyone is trying to pull a fast one on someone else. Laban tricks Jacob into marrying Leah instead of...
Nov 19, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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‘A Prophetess Among Us’
In the Hitchcock classic “Psycho,” we are treated to a grand misdirection. For the first half-hour of the film, we follow the story of Marion Crane, a bored and frustrated Phoenix secretary who ste...
Nov 10, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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What will they say when?
Parshat Chayei Sara, 23:1-25:18 Not to be morbid, but it is time for me to start thinking about what they might say at my funeral. Trust me, I have many years left (God willing), but it is still ti...
Nov 05, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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Pushing the limits
Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 How do we act when we’re under great pressure? What hidden strengths come out — and what weaknesses — as we navigate through rough times? Parshat Vayera invites u...
Oct 28, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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What’s in a name?
Parshat Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 This week, Parshat Lech Lecha, translated as “go forth,” chronicles the earliest part of the Abraham and Sarah biblical narrative. However, at the time of Ado...
Oct 22, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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We are not a country club
Parshat Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 Noah wasn’t Jewish. I find it interesting that our Torah began last week with Adam, not Abraham. It began with the first person, not the first Jew. We seem to forge...
Oct 14, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Don’t wait, do it now
by Rabbi Michael Werbow, Congregation Beth Shalom
Dec 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend
Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35 “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today” is a familiar maxim attributed to Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.  Unfortunately, though, many...
Spiritual exile and redemption — we are all meant to be free
by Rabbi James Gibson, Temple Sinai
Dec 19, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 159 159 recommendations | email to a friend
Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1 Commenting on our parshah, the Sefat Emet , Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Leib Alter (1847-1905) wondered why the Israelites had not cried out to God from the beginning of their bondage...
Shema story resonates with young people in today’s world and hope
by Cantor Michal Gray-Schaffer, Congregation B’nai Abraham, Butler
Dec 11, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 162 162 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayechi, Genesis, 47:28-50:26 Parshat Vayechi  (and he lived) is the last portion in Bereshit (Genesis).  It serves as a bridge between the chronicles of the patriarchs and matriarchs in Bereshit a...
Joseph’s revelation holds new lessons for today’s challenges and hope
by Rabbi Audrey R. Korotkin, Temple Beth Israel, Altoona
Dec 05, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 161 161 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 How could they not know? That’s the question I always have — the problem I always struggle with — when it comes to these chapters of the book of Genesis. How could Jos...
Two stories share message of abundance and hope
by Rabbi Ron Symons, Temple Sinai
Nov 27, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 159 159 recommendations | email to a friend
Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:17 I love Chanukah. I love Chanukah because of the latkes and the jelly donuts, the dreidels and the gelt, the family fun and the increasing light. While many of us share a ...
Carving out a new place leads to lasting change
by Rabbi Stephanie Wolfe, Beth Samuel Jewish Center, Ambridge
Nov 20, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23 Many of us have had those moments when we do something or say something and afterward think, “I’ve turned into my mother (or father).” It doesn’t matter how far away we...
Esau: pitiful or triumphant? Re-examining what sages say
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Nov 13, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayishlach Genesis 32:4-36:43 As you probably know, the members of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association take turns writing the weekly Torah commentary for this paper.  What you probably don’...
‘Walking to the sky’
by Rabbi David Novitzky Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa.
Nov 07, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 157 157 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayetzei, Genesis 28:10-32:3 In my opinion, one of the best sites to visit in Pittsburgh is Jonathan Borofsky’s “Walking to the Sky” exhibit located at Carnegie Mellon University. The sculpture is ...
Esau: good or bad?
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Oct 29, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend
Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 This week’s parshah is, in my opinion, a disturbing one. The story begins with the birth of the fraternal twins, Esau and Jacob.  From the beginning it is clear they are ...
The imperfect ideal
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Oct 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 159 159 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 ...