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torah commentary
Seeing the big picture need not require standing on the vista
Parshat Pinchas Numbers 25:10-30:1 In this week’s Torah portion, God commands Moses to ascend the hills from the other side of the Jordan River and look into the land of Israel. God reminds him tha...
Jul 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Routine decisions can point us in the right direction
Parshat Balak Numbers 22:2-25:9 In this week’s Torah reading, King Balak of Moab retains the sorcerer Balaam to curse the Jewish people. Instead of curses, only blessings come out of his mouth. Whe...
Jul 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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In each generation ...
Parshat Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 One of the major events related in Parshat Chukat is the death of Miriam, the older sister of Moses and Aaron. Immediately after this, we read that the Israelites w...
Jun 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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How can things go wrong? Let me count the ways
German is the most frustrating language. I’ve done Russian, French and Hebrew. I’ve learned new alphabets, switched from left to right. But nothing beats a complex German sentence to make a new stu...
Jun 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Jerusalem the Holy
R Bamidbar The capital cities of every nation on earth are built on major trade routes or rivers.   They became capitals because they were centers of commerce and easily accessible. Jerusalem is th...
May 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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Something’s terribly wrong when a leaf is frightening
Parshat Bechukotai Leviticus 26:3-27:34 Bechukotai — literally “My law” — is the last parshah in Leviticus, functioning as an epilogue to the entire book. Through Moses, the Lord gives the people o...
May 15, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
First steps toward freedom: Remembering Debbie Friedman
Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jan 14, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
The crossing of the Sea of Reeds, which we read about in this week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, marked a pivotal moment for the Israelites. It transformed an enslaved group of individuals into a fre...
‘Go’… and Happy Birthday
Bo, Exodus 10:1 –13:16
by Cantor Richard Berlin, Spiritual Leader
Parkway Jewish Center
Jan 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
A parsha’s name usually comes from its first important word. Bo is the fourth word this week. This parsha starts, “The Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh. For I have hardened his heart … that you m...
The season of bringing signs
Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35
by Rabbi Michael Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Dec 29, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
Moses is trying to tackle a big job. He not only has to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go so they can serve God, he also has to convince the Israelites. The signs that God gives Moses: his ...
The biblical mama grizzly
Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
by Rabbi Scott Aaron
Agency for Jewish Learning
Dec 23, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
This week’s Torah portion, Shemot, contains one of the most perplexing stories in the Torah. While Exodus 4:24-26 is only three lines, it has long raised pages of questions: “At a night encampment ...
The struggle for meaning: the masterpiece that is life
Parshat Veyechi Genesis: 47-28-50:26/I Kings 2:1-12
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Dec 16, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
We have been taught that artists, when constructing a masterpiece, are not well served if they continually wield the brush. At times, artists must put the brush down, step back from the canvas and ...
Slavery for food a troubling passage in Torah portion
Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27
by Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner
Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va.
Dec 10, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
This past week, when Israel’s Carmel Forest was ablaze, aid came from individuals who donated money and by governments who supplied needed equipment. Earlier this year, when a devastating earthquak...
Perchance to dream: A gateway to God
Miketz/Shabbat Chanuka Genesis 41:1-44:17
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Dec 02, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
Jacob had nothing but a rock to lay his head upon, yet he dreamed of God speaking words of comfort and inspiration to him. Pharaoh had the finest of Egypt’s finery to rest his head upon, yet he dre...
Looking for Hashem in every detail
Parshat Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Nov 24, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
  While Joseph was in prison, Pharaoh’s chief wine steward and his chief baker were also incarcerated. Rashi explains that the chief wine steward was punished because there was a fly in Pharaoh’s w...
Pianist bridged heaven and earth place of darkness
Vayetze Genesis 28:10-32:3
by Rabbi Sharyn H. Henry
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Nov 12, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it.” — ...
Why wait to bequeath
Chaye Sara, Genesis 23:1-25:18
by Rabbi Ron Symons
Temple Sinai
Oct 28, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
When it comes to bequeathing our valuables to the next generation, there are two options.  First, we can adopt the policy of “better to spend it now on my children and grandchildren while I have th...