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torah commentary
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 | 18 18 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 | 27 27 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 | 37 37 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 | 44 44 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 | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend
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Our great community of leaders
Parshat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 At the end of Parshat Shoftim the Torah teaches us the mitzvah of “Eglah Arufa.” This mitzvah is that if a man is found lifeless in the countryside and it i...
Sep 07, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend
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Sukkot: A time of happiness and gratitude
by Rabbi Eli Seidman, Jewish Association on Aging
Sep 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend
Sukkot One of the many names for the holiday of Sukkot (aka Booths) is zeman simchateinu (the time of our happiness).  Why, of all of the holidays, does Sukkot have the distinction of being called ...
Now is the opportunity for wholeness
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Sep 11, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 159 159 recommendations | email to a friend
Yom Kippur “Forgiveness is a funny thing.  It warms the heart and cools the sting.” These words by William A. Ward, suggest that forgiveness brings comfort, similar to a cup of hot chocolate on a c...
Time of reflection is at hand
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Aug 28, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 163 163 recommendations | email to a friend
Nitzavim-Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 Nelson Mandela has been in the news recently with reports about his failing health. The anti-apartheid activist who became South Africa’s first democratica...
A new twist to blotting out Amalek
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons, Temple David, Monroeville
Aug 15, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 161 161 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tetze, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 You wouldn’t know it from the start, but Ki Tetze is one of those special portions. We arrive at it once as part of the Torah reading cycle and we roll to it once ...
Strong roots lead to a sound future
by Cantor Richard M. Berlin, Parkway Jewish Center
Aug 08, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 163 163 recommendations | email to a friend
Shoftim , Deuteronomy 16:18-21:19 Within Parshat Shoftim (Judges), it says: When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees...
Why would God care what we eat?
by Rabbi Joe Hample Congregation Tree of Life, Morgantown, W.Va.
Jul 31, 2013 | 2 2 comments | 166 166 recommendations | email to a friend
Re-eh, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 When I was young, you were supposed to eat what was put in front of you.  Now, everyone has special food requirements for reasons of health, politics, religion or an ...
Abundance — blessing or curse?
by Rabbi James A. Gibson, Temple Sinai
Jul 25, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 166 166 recommendations | email to a friend
Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 This week’s portion, Ekev, is beloved for highlighting our connection to the land of Israel.  We learn of the seven species native to the land in Deuteronomy 8.9:  whea...
For the love of God
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Jul 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 162 162 recommendations | email to a friend
Va-etchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 “Then God Eternal fashioned the man — dust from the soil — and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that man became a living being.” — (Genesis 2:7) ...
The ox and the donkey
by Rabbi Eli Seidman, Jewish Association on Aging
Jul 11, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 164 164 recommendations | email to a friend
Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22 An ox knows its owner, and a donkey knows its master’s crib. But Israel does not know; my people does not consider. — Isaiah 1:3   On the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av, th...
Stroll down Memory Lane
by Rabbi Amy Hertz
Jul 03, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 181 181 recommendations | email to a friend
Matot-Masei, Numbers 30:2-36:13 This week’s Torah portion brings the Book of Numbers, and in many ways the narrative of the Torah, to a close.  With the end of B’midbar, our people’s journey in the...