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torah commentary
Holy history or sacred seeds?
Shabbat Chol Ha-Moed Sukkot 33:12-34:26 The Three Festivals we celebrate are powerful connectors of the Jewish people across time and space. Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot each provide essential connec...
Oct 01, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Ha’azinu ode on a biblical urn
Parshat Ha’azinu Deuteronomy 32:1 - 32:52 This week’s Torah portion of Ha’azinu contains a poetic narrative, and then in its conclusion it describes the last days of Moses’ life as he stood on Moun...
Sep 24, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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The gift of our words
Parshat Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 “Turn, O Israel, toward the Eternal, your God, that you may confess to your transgressions. Take with you words and turn to God saying, sweep away in forgiv...
Sep 16, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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With help, support and inspiration
What are the prerequisites to convert to Judaism? If you could choose, what would they be? While some of our denominations have a very clear answer, others are more flexible. As a Reform rabbi, I h...
Sep 09, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend
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Choosing a path
Parshat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 A person is led on the path that he (or she) truly wants to travel on. (Talmud Makkot 10b) If a person comes to purify him (or her) self, he (or she) will be ...
Sep 02, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Cultivating compassion
Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 Among the 72 mitzvot that are delineated in the parasha of Ki Tetzei, there is one that some consider to be an “easy” mitzvah. In Deuteronomy 22:6-7 we learn, “If...
Aug 27, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Something to chew on
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47
by Rabbi Michael Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Apr 19, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend
The pursuit to find reasons for the mitzvot is long standing. As far back as the Mishna, the Talmud and Midrash, (second century B.C.E. to fifth century C.E.) the rabbis were looking for “ta’amei h...
Do the tithe thing
Passover, Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17; Numbers 28:19-25
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Apr 12, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend
The regular Torah reading for the eighth day of Passover discusses the consecration of all firstborn animals to God and the festival calendar, clearly connecting to the observance of the holiday. H...
Heed Kafka’s words this Passover
Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Apr 05, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend
 Franz Kafka, a 20th century Jewish novelist, famously wrote, “You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world.  That is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature.  B...
Broken Hallelujah
Shabbat Hagadol 5772
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman
New Light Congregation
Mar 29, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend
“When do we eat?” my Aunt Florence would always ask 15 minutes after we began the seder. It is a source a disagreement in my family whether we should start early or late on seder night. Some argue ...
‘Days are scrolls — write on them’
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman
Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Mar 22, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend
As we begin to read Vayikra/Leviticus this week, we plunge immediately into the details of sacrificial worship in ancient Israel. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 C.E. As it became clear...
Understanding the tabernacle today
Vayakhel-Pekudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Mar 15, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
In this Shabbat’s Torah portion, which is a combined one, we once again get a detailed description of the building of the tabernacle. As a contemporary Jew, I used to find no meaning for myself in ...
Own up to mistakes; it’s the honest thing to do
Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11-34:35
by Rabbi Donni C. Aaron
Jewish Community Center
Mar 08, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
I think the following scenario may sound familiar to all the parents out there: One of my children did something they were not supposed to do. When my husband and I confronted our child, our child ...
Struggle against evil
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Mar 01, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
Let's remember Pearl Harbor As we go to meet the foe Let's remember Pearl Harbor As we did the Alamo We will always remember how they died for liberty Let's remember Pearl Harbor and go on to victo...
‘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...