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torah commentary
Interconnectedness is a Jewish value
Parshat Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23 The American psyche holds independence in great esteem. Our nation was conceived not by people who saw themselves united in culture or history or through shared anc...
Feb 15, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
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First steps on the path to the Promised Land
Parshat Beshalach, Exodus 13:17 - 17:16 Redemption! Parshat Beshalach is a Torah portion of glory — glory in the Song at the Sea, the poetic celebration of liberation from Egyptian bondage, and glo...
Feb 09, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
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Genealogy only goes so far
Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16 Why is the killing of the firstborn the final, and most significant, plague? True, it brought death into every household, rattling Egypt at its foundations, but certai...
Feb 01, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend
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A condemnation of one’s own making
Parshat Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35 During this past summer I had the opportunity to spend a Shabbat with the Yeshiva High School boys at Camp Twin Echo in the Laurel Highlands. After Shabbat I stopped ...
Jan 25, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend
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Moshe’s curious mind
Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1 A new Pharaoh has risen.  The people Israel are enslaved and oppressed, and their very lives are in danger.  Into this frightening reality, a baby is born who then be...
Jan 19, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend
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Our top priority: Service to G-d
The Torah portion this week relates a fascinating exchange between father and son. Jacob was lying on his deathbed when he turned to his second to the youngest son, Joseph, whom at the time was the...
Jan 11, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Our great community of leaders
by Rabbi Elchonon Friedman
Sep 07, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend
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...
The importance of caring for each other
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Sep 02, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 147 147 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Re’eh Rosh Chodesh Elul, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17, Numbers 28:9-15 The book of Deuteronomy documents Moses’ final address to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land. In reiteratin...
True love: our relationship with G-d
by Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld
Aug 25, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 151 151 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Eikev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 Vehaya Im Shamoah Tishmiu El Mitzvoisai. The second paragraph of the famous prayer of Shema is found in this week’s Torah portion. In it we are told that if we...
Monotheism and the problem of truth
by Rabbi Reuven Firestone
Aug 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 155 155 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Nachamu, Parshat Etchanon, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 “You shall have no other gods beside Me!” This is the first of aseret hadibrot, literally the “Ten Declarations” or “Ten Commandments” found...
The gift of ‘Solomon’s time’
by Rabbi Daniel Yolkut
Aug 10, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 161 161 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Chazon, Parshat Devarim Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22 Every year, Jews, as we have for more than two millenia, observe the fast of the Ninth of Av, marking the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, the...
(Re)ordering our priorities
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Aug 03, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 155 155 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Mattot-Masei, Numbers 30:2-36:13 In this week’s double portion, Matot-Ma’asei, it seems that our biblical ancestors have questionable priorities. As plans get underway for the eventual move...
The importance of a unified community
by Rabbi Shimon Silver
Jul 28, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 175 175 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1 This parshah seems to be a hodgepodge of loosely connected or disconnected themes. The reward for Pinchas, the order to attack Midian (that actual attack is defe...
Miracle tales
by Rabbi Doris Dyen
Jul 21, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 178 178 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob; your encampments, O Israel!” These beloved words in praise of Jewish community, which have become part of our everyday liturgy,...
Communal living a suprarational command
by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Jul 13, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 187 187 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 Is it more important to devote oneself to personal, spiritual develop­ment or to work for the good of the nation? I believe that a good argument can be made that co...
The importance of memory, especially to our history
by Cantor Michal Gray-Schaffer
Jul 06, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 200 200 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshaht Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 In this week’s Torah portion, a rebellion breaks out against Moses’ leadership, led by the Levite Korach, Reubenites Dathan and Abiram and 250 chieftains of the ...