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torah commentary
Happiness is a choice, not a chase
Shabbat Sukkot, Leviticus 22:26-23:44, Numbers 29:12 - 29:16 This brief but bold phrase that has become such a part of the fabric of our society seems in some way to mirror our Jewish holidays of t...
Oct 19, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
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A failure of leadership and Moses’ downfall
Parshat Ha’azinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-52 This is one of the shorter sections of the Torah, and it is made up almost entirely of a breathtaking and chastening poem. The term “awesome” tends to be overu...
Oct 13, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
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Yom Kippur as festive wedding day
Parshat Vayeilech, Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30 This week we will be celebrating Yom Kippur. More Jews will be going to a synagogue on this day than any other day in the year. How can we be sure that we ...
Oct 05, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend
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Standing together for what is right
Parshat Nitzavim, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 Atem nitzavim hayom kulchem — these words that I practiced over and over again some 48 years ago as I trained for my bar mitzvah. These words that my whole ...
Sep 28, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend
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Upward and onward … and don’t look back!
Parshat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 One of the most beautiful and popular verses in Torah is found in this week’s Parshah, Ki Tavo. In the midst of showering the People of Israel with blessings,...
Sep 22, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend
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Erasing and rewriting Amalek’s name
In Jewish tradition a reference to Amalek is a reminder in every generation of all who have ever sought to rise and destroy our people. As Moses implores, in this week’s Torah portion Ki Teitzei, w...
Sep 15, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend
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We are all reflections of the Divine
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 14, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 153 153 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35 I recently had the option of purchasing the same bracelet in either silver or copper. The silver version was more expensive and elegant. There was something compelling,...
You light up my life
by Rabbi Michael Werbow, Congregation Beth Shalom
Feb 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 149 149 recommendations | email to a friend
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10 When one sits down to study Torah, there is much uncertainty as to where he will find meaning.  When a person takes the opportunity to study the weekly parshah, she ope...
Beyond the synagogue: Prayers with the seriously ill
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, New Light Congregation
Jan 30, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 152 152 recommendations | email to a friend
In my work as a multifaith chaplain for Forbes Hospice, I’ve encountered many elderly people who have become disconnected with their home church or synagogue.  Some of them are ill, but many are pe...
Talking and walking, they need each other
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman, Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Jan 22, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 155 155 recommendations | email to a friend
Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18 With the portion Mishpatim, the narrative parts of the Torah are now largely behind us. There are more stories scattered throughout the remainder, but from now through ...
We can’t do it all alone
by Cantor Henry Shapiro, Parkway Jewish Center
Jan 15, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend
This week’s parsha, of Yitro, has two main topics. The first concerns the visit of Yitro, the father-in-law of Moses. The second is the revelation at Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments. Certainly...
Make a joyful noise
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jan 08, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 157 157 recommendations | email to a friend
Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16 The public radio program “Radiolab” recently aired a story about a man expressing pure joy. The man, Aleksander Gamme, is an adventurer; the event happened on day 86 o...
Time to soften our hearts, hear our suffering
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jan 02, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 157 157 recommendations | email to a friend
Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16 When we speak of “Pharaoh,” of course, we are referring to the ruler of Egypt at the time Moses approaches to demand of him, “Let my People go!” This is the pharaoh “who knew ...
Don’t wait, do it now
by Rabbi Michael Werbow, Congregation Beth Shalom
Dec 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 162 162 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 | 161 161 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 | 164 164 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...