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torah commentary
Acting out of spite
Parshat Va’era, Exodus 6:2-9:3 “Pride comes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18) C.S. Lewis: “For pride is spiritual cancer: It eats up the very possibility ...
Jan 14, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of a Jewish soul
Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1 A few weeks ago, publisher David Suissa reported on the White House Chanukah party he attended: “So, when the president got closer to us and I was prepared to launch ...
Jan 07, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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Understanding Joseph
Parshat Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26 According to a recently published survey from a company called School Stickers, and as reported by the internet-media company Buzzfeed, the Top 10 most common n...
Dec 31, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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End of year, end of story
Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 As we close out the year, we also draw to a close the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Even though we have one more parshah to finish the book, this week’s po...
Dec 23, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Who will interpret our nightmares? Magicians or sages?
Parshat Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:17 In this week’s Torah portion, Joseph has fallen from fatherly favor to the depths of Pharaoh’s dungeons. The dreams of his youth seem to mock him. He is cast away...
Dec 17, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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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 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Where God fits into Chanuka
Miketz, Genesis, 41:1-44:17
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Dec 22, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
I would like to get the bumper sticker that says, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” but I am afraid that people would take it the wrong way. My reasoning: The more that Christmas becomes secularized, the...
‘From darkness to light’
Veyeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Dec 15, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeshev, our patriarch Jacob learns of the supposed death of his beloved son Joseph. In point of fact, Joseph is not actually dead, but rather has been sold into slav...
What’s in a name? A lot!
Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4-36:43
by Rabbi Michael Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Dec 08, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” — Shakespeare Each one of us received a name when we were born.  Our parents thought long and hard to give us a...
Great good comes from ordinary people
Vayetze, Genesis 28:10-32:3
by Rabbi Joseph S. Weiss
Bnai Emunoh Congregation
Dec 01, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
The Torah is always very economical with its words. We have very little biographical detail about any of the patriarchs, of Moses growing up in the household of Pharoah. We are introduced to Abraha...
Instant gratification
Toledot, Genesis 25:19-28:9
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Nov 23, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
“The boys grew up. Esau became a skilled trapper, a man of the field. Jacob was a scholarly man who remained with the tents.” — Genesis 25:27 Jacob and Esau were fraternal twins, but they couldn’t ...
In circle of life, loved ones come and go
Chaye Sarah, 23:1-25:18
by Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner
Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va.
Nov 17, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
We are all familiar with the phrase “circle of life.” I couldn’t help but think of this idea in relation to this week’s Torah portion, for life and death are intertwined. As Jews, we have a wide ra...
Speaking to the future
Parshat Vayeira
Genesis 18:1-22-24
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman
New Light Congregation
Nov 10, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend
On Rosh Hashana, we read the story of the Akeida, the near-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, taken out of the context of the Genesis narrative. We weave Abraham as hero into the High Holy Day themes o...
Rabbi marks three anniversaries;reflects on the meaning of family
Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27  
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Congregation Emanu-El Israel Greensburg
Nov 02, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
The Biblical commentator, Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michael better known as Malbim (1809-1897), asks about the order of the command given to Abram in this week’s Torah portion. He notes that Ab...
Where did the raven go?
Genesis 6:9-11:32
by Rabbi James A. Gibson
Temple Sinai
Oct 27, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
The story of Noah and the flood is often presented as a children’s tale, something so fabulous and unbelievable we expect kids to be awed and adults to strain to suspend their disbelief. The story ...
The unforgiven
Shabbat Shuva, Haazinu, Deuteronomy, 32:1-52
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Oct 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
We must blindly forgive others, because God is forgiving, right? Wrong. Where in our Torah is God so forgiving? Whenever we did something wrong, God immediately punished us. I cannot recall one tim...