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torah commentary
You changed my sackcloth into robes of joy
For more than half my lifetime I have done my best to help victims of violent crimes in their struggle to recover. I have counseled rape, murder, terrorist and abuse victims spiritually, emotionall...
Apr 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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New moon, new months
Tazria Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The first Passover Seder is nearly upon us. How do we know? No need to look at the calendar; go outside and look at the moon. As our ancestors did, we too can look at the...
Mar 27, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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That last bite of matzah has a special message
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The countdown to Passover is on. With that in mind, what will we do this year to make Passover less about food — especially decadent chocolate cakes preceded by a multi...
Mar 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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The Purim paradox: Now more than ever
Shabbat Zachor, Leviticus 6:1-8:36 One of my rabbis in seminary told this story: While serving as an Army chaplain, a soldier professed to him, “I believe every word in the Bible!” The rabbi replie...
Mar 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Little alephs need our help
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 In this week’s parshah, which is the beginning of the book of Leviticus, we have something very unusual in the Torah scroll.  The first word, Vayikra, which means “And H...
Mar 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Holy housewarming can strengthen community
Suppose you fell in love, and wanted your beloved to move in with you.  You would probably arrange the residence exactly the way s/he likes it, with the furniture positioned and the tchotchkes depl...
Feb 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Little things mean a lot
Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Aug 18, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
“Blow me a kiss from across the room Say I look nice when I’m not Touch my hair as you pass my chair Little things mean a lot…” “Little Things Mean a Lot” was a popular song, recorded by Kitty Kall...
Practice loving God
Vaetchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Aug 11, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s Torah portion, Vaetchanan, Moses is in the midst of giving his final words of instruction to the Children of Israel before his death. In an effort to ensure loyalty of the people of ...
Believing in God regardless of proof
Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
by Rabbi Scott Aaron
Agency for Jewish Learning
Aug 03, 2011 | 1 1 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
This week, we begin studying the fifth book of the Torah, Devarim, which is also the name of this week’s portion. It was the custom of our ancestors to name books and Torah portions after the first...
Pollution
Masei, Numbers 33:1-36:13
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman>br>Temple B’nai Israel
White Oak
Jul 28, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
“Do not pollute the land on which you live.” Numbers 35:33 I wish I could say that these words were an ancient harbinger of our environmental concerns, an admonition against pollution. In fact, the...
Vows make a difference, as tradition teaches
Mattot, Numbers 30:2–32:42
by Cantor Richard Berlin
Parkway Jewish Center
Jul 21, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
“If a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath imposing an obligation upon himself he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips.” — Numbers 30:2 “If a woman ma...
Change is inevitable — and appropriate
Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jul 14, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
Amidst the many disparate matters discussed in Parashat Pinchas, we read of Moses being informed by God that he will die before being permitted to enter the Promised Land. We then hear Moses ask Go...
Faith vs. fear, foe vs. faux
Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Jul 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
Fateful and fraught is the number 40 in the Torah. Forty days of rain in the flood story, 40 days for Moses on Mt. Sinai, and 40 years wandering from Egypt to the Promised Land prove the power of t...
The irony of healing
Chukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1
by Rabbi David C. Novitsky
Beth Israel Congregation, Washington
Jun 30, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
At one time, there was a red heifer in Washington County, or so several individuals have told me. The Torah portion of this week discusses the red heifer. What exactly is a red heifer? The Bible in...
Location matters in disputes
Temple David Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32
by Rabbi Barbara Symons
Temple David
Jun 24, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
What is the proper arena for dispute? If you are a Food Network groupie, then you are familiar with the show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” In the territory of a chef’s kitchen, he cooks his own vers...
Temper mercy with anger when the kvetching starts
Shelach, Numbers 13:1-15:41
by Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner
Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va.
Jun 16, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
Kvetching is a great Yiddish word. It’s robust and full of flavor. And it’s something we find plenty of in this week’s Torah portion, Shelach. Twelve scouts are sent by G-d to the land of Canaan to...