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torah commentary
The meaning of ritual
This week we begin the Book of Leviticus: “The Eternal called Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel.’” This book is for the children of Israel. I...
Mar 19, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
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Talented in our own ways
Parshat Vayakhel-Pekude, Exodus 38:21-40:38 Every time I have to draw a picture, especially of the map of Israel, my students laugh. I am not an artist. Art was a required course in high school and...
Mar 12, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
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A different Moses emerges for all time
Parshat Ki Tisa Exodus 30:11-34:35 What is the significance of the dazzling radiance of Moses’ face and why did it not attain this shining glow until he received the second tablets on Yom Kippur? A...
Mar 05, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend
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The divine fragrance of memory
Parshat Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10 The Book of Exodus describes six ritual objects designed for use in the mishkan, the Taberncle: the Ark of the Covenant, the sacrificial altar, the menorah, the...
Feb 26, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend
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The gift of Cuban resiliency
Parshat Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19 “Adonai spoke to Moses, saying: Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him. And these a...
Feb 18, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend
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What makes us count
Parshat Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18 During my freshman year of college, I was one of the lucky ones. There it was in my mailbox waiting for me to be filled out, waiting for me to answer its many q...
Feb 12, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
‘Stop! Pay attention!’ The Torah says so
Teruma, Exodus 21:1-24:18
by Rabbi Stephanie Wolfe
Beth Samuel Jewish Center, Ambridge
Feb 24, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
Think back to one week ago today.  Can you remember what you ate that day? Can you remember the various people you spoke with?  Do you remember what you said? These are the kinds of details that so...
Do it to them first, or turn the other cheek?
Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Feb 16, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
“Let’s do it to them before they do it to us.” — Sgt. Stan Jablonski (“Hill Street Blues,” 1981 TV series)   Sounds terrible, does it not? I remember when Sgt. Jablonski took over for Sgt. Phil Est...
All Jews don’t look like Barbra Streisand
Yitro; Exodus 18:1-20:23
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 09, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
As I write these words I am preparing for our congregational/community journey to Haiti. By the time you read them, I, along with 11 others from Pittsburgh, will be in Haiti, providing physical exa...
Line from yesterday to tomorrow a map for faith
Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16
by Rabbi Ron Symons
Temple Sinai
Feb 02, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
Recently, while preparing for the 92nd Street Y Satellite Broadcast of Walter Issaacson speaking about his relationship with Steve Jobs, I was touched by Steve Jobs’ words: "Again, you can't connec...
Did God really harden Pharaoh’s heart?
Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16
by Rabbi Martin William Shorr
Hadar Israel, New Castle
Jan 26, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
There are two points to be shared in this week’s portion, Bo: First is in the very beginning of the passage, “Come to Pharaoh for I have made his heart, and the heart of his servants hard, so my si...
Pausing to think
Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs
UPMC Shadyside
Jan 18, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend
Prior to the plague of hail, Pharoah and the people of Egypt were warned that anything left out in the field would be crushed and destroyed by the hail. The Torah relates that those who feared the ...
Get the name right!
Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
by Rabbi Audrey Korotkin
Temple Beth Israel, Altoona
Jan 13, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
Days before my rabbinic ordination, I got a chance to see my smicha certificate for the first time — and was aghast. The calligrapher had gotten my Hebrew name wrong! Not mine, but my dad’s, which ...
Jacob’s ethical will
Jewish Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26
by Rabbi Eli Seidma
Jewish Association on Aging
Jan 05, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
In my work with Sivitz Jewish Hospice, I often help patients review the events of their lives and pass along wisdom and advice to the next generation. People discuss the decisions they made, the re...
The mitzva of taking
Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Dec 30, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
No, not the “mitzva of giving” (although I know it is the season). I once met a man who explained to others that the reason we tear our garments at a time of mourning is to let others know to leave...
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...