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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 | 10 10 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 | 19 19 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 | 28 28 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 | 38 38 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 | 45 45 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 | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend
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You kiss your mother with that mouth? Blasphemy then and now
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Apr 25, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Emor, Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23 This week’s portion ends with a troubling story of blasphemy, social isolation and death.  (I know … a lot of our Torah portions have troubling stories of blasp...
‘Can’t we all just get along?’
by Rabbi James Gibson, Temple Sinai
Apr 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 147 147 recommendations | email to a friend
Achare Mot–Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1-20:27 Those famous words, “Can’t we all just get along?” were plaintively said by Rodney King, whose beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Police more than 20 ...
Getting it together
by Rabbi Joe Hample, Tree of Life Congregation, Morgantown, W.Va.
Apr 10, 2013 | 1 1 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend
Tazria-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33 Just between you and me, I feel a lot of ambivalence.  I’m full of faith and doubt, calm and stress, gloom and hope.  I’m an introverted extrovert, a sloppy per...
That which enters your mouth is also important
by Rabbi David Novitsky, Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa
Apr 04, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 136 136 recommendations | email to a friend
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 There are those who believe that the Jewish dietary laws were given to the people of Israel primarily for health concerns.  They maintain that the unclean animals enume...
A lingering lesson
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 29, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend
Chol Hamoed Pesach Without a doubt, Passover is my favorite holiday. Food was always at the center of my family’s celebration and remembrance of our people’s journey from slavery to freedom (yours ...
Hallelu Yah!
by Cantor Richard Berlin, Parkway Jewish Center
Mar 20, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat HaGaddol Leviticus 6:1–8:36 This year, Parashat Tzav is also Shabbat HaGaddol — the last Shabbat before Passover. On Monday night, we will all sit down to our first Pesach seder. We’ll ask ...
Some say yes, some say no; I say ‘what if?’ What say you?
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 14, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 141 141 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 Every Jew who lived through the Six Day War recalls the thrilling image of Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, holding a sefer Torah and blowin...
The first fundraiser
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman, Congregation Emanu-El Israel
Mar 07, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayakhel Pekudei Exodus 35:1 — 40:38 In the Jewish community, we are used to having fundraising campaigns. It is not something unique to the American scene. One can look throughout Jewish history a...
Uplifted faces bring peace, wholeness
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons Temple David, Monroeville
Feb 28, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 141 141 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tissa 30:11-34:35 Lately, I have been attending church. Perhaps that sounds odd for a rabbi to write.  Yet one of my goals for my current three-month sabbatical is to attend as many services as ...
Remember and don’t forget
by Rabbi Michael Werbow, Congregation Beth Shalom
Feb 21, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 131 131 recommendations | email to a friend
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10 Just a few weeks ago, we read Parashat Yitro in which we retell the experience of standing at Mt. Sinai and hearing the voice of God deliver Torah to the people Israel....