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torah commentary
Water for body and soul
Parshat Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1 The day before this is published I will have returned safely, God willing, from a visit to my beloved native Arizona desert. It is a place of austere grandeur and ...
Jun 24, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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Don't be a hater
Occasionally, one of my sons doesn’t like my final decision and he quotes a line from a Taylor Swift song, “Don’t be a hater Mom,” he says. Who realized that Taylor Swift knew Torah, specifically p...
Jun 18, 2015 | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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God’s reputation or mission?
Parshat Sh'lach L'cha, Numbers 13.1-15.41 This week’s parsha finds our people caught in a classic “good news-bad news” scenario. The good news is that our troop of 12 spies has walked up and down t...
Jun 11, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
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Be like Miriam
Parshat Beha’alotecha, Numbers 8:1-12:16 There is a Hebrew song that I sang often in my NFTY days: Mitzvah goreret mitzvah, averah goreret averah, “one good deed leads to another good deed, one tra...
Jun 03, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
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It all adds up
Parshat Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89 Gematria explains a word or group of words according to the numerical equivalent of its letters. Alef = 1, bet = 2, gimmel = 3, etc. Both the Babylonians and Greeks ...
May 29, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
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We were all at Mount Sinai
Parshat Bemidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 “And God said to us at Mount Sinai, ‘Today you stand before Me, all of you, your leaders and your followers, your children and your wives, even the stranger; all ...
May 20, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Our firstborn no longer belong to God
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
May 09, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 172 172 recommendations | email to a friend
Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 Once upon a time, a long time ago, every firstborn belonged to God. We were always supposed to give the first of all “our fruits” to God, literally. Now, let’s go way bac...
Shabbat as a utopian ideal
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno, Rodef Shalom Congregation
May 02, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 169 169 recommendations | email to a friend
Behar-Behukotai, Leviticus 25:1-27:34 This week’s Torah reading is drawn from a double portion, Behar-Behukotai. Behar is associated with the laws of sabbatical; that is, we are instructed to allow...
You kiss your mother with that mouth? Blasphemy then and now
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Apr 25, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Emor, Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23 This week’s portion ends with a troubling story of blasphemy, social isolation and death.  (I know … a lot of our Torah portions have troubling stories of blasp...
‘Can’t we all just get along?’
by Rabbi James Gibson, Temple Sinai
Apr 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 147 147 recommendations | email to a friend
Achare Mot–Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1-20:27 Those famous words, “Can’t we all just get along?” were plaintively said by Rodney King, whose beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Police more than 20 ...
Getting it together
by Rabbi Joe Hample, Tree of Life Congregation, Morgantown, W.Va.
Apr 10, 2013 | 1 1 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend
Tazria-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33 Just between you and me, I feel a lot of ambivalence.  I’m full of faith and doubt, calm and stress, gloom and hope.  I’m an introverted extrovert, a sloppy per...
That which enters your mouth is also important
by Rabbi David Novitsky, Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa
Apr 04, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 136 136 recommendations | email to a friend
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 There are those who believe that the Jewish dietary laws were given to the people of Israel primarily for health concerns.  They maintain that the unclean animals enume...
A lingering lesson
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 29, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend
Chol Hamoed Pesach Without a doubt, Passover is my favorite holiday. Food was always at the center of my family’s celebration and remembrance of our people’s journey from slavery to freedom (yours ...
Hallelu Yah!
by Cantor Richard Berlin, Parkway Jewish Center
Mar 20, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat HaGaddol Leviticus 6:1–8:36 This year, Parashat Tzav is also Shabbat HaGaddol — the last Shabbat before Passover. On Monday night, we will all sit down to our first Pesach seder. We’ll ask ...
Some say yes, some say no; I say ‘what if?’ What say you?
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 14, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 141 141 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 Every Jew who lived through the Six Day War recalls the thrilling image of Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, holding a sefer Torah and blowin...
The first fundraiser
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman, Congregation Emanu-El Israel
Mar 07, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayakhel Pekudei Exodus 35:1 — 40:38 In the Jewish community, we are used to having fundraising campaigns. It is not something unique to the American scene. One can look throughout Jewish history a...