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torah commentary
Being there in spirit
Parshat Matot Numbers 30:2-32:42 In this week’s Torah portion, representatives of the Tribes of Reuben and Gad approach Moses. They have prospered on the east side of the Jordan. They have many her...
Jul 16, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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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 | 2 2 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 | 3 3 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 | 2 2 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 | 3 3 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 | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Instant gratification
Toledot, Genesis 25:19-28:9
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Nov 23, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
“The boys grew up. Esau became a skilled trapper, a man of the field. Jacob was a scholarly man who remained with the tents.” — Genesis 25:27 Jacob and Esau were fraternal twins, but they couldn’t ...
In circle of life, loved ones come and go
Chaye Sarah, 23:1-25:18
by Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner
Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va.
Nov 17, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
We are all familiar with the phrase “circle of life.” I couldn’t help but think of this idea in relation to this week’s Torah portion, for life and death are intertwined. As Jews, we have a wide ra...
Speaking to the future
Parshat Vayeira
Genesis 18:1-22-24
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman
New Light Congregation
Nov 10, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend
On Rosh Hashana, we read the story of the Akeida, the near-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, taken out of the context of the Genesis narrative. We weave Abraham as hero into the High Holy Day themes o...
Rabbi marks three anniversaries;reflects on the meaning of family
Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27  
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Congregation Emanu-El Israel Greensburg
Nov 02, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
The Biblical commentator, Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michael better known as Malbim (1809-1897), asks about the order of the command given to Abram in this week’s Torah portion. He notes that Ab...
Where did the raven go?
Genesis 6:9-11:32
by Rabbi James A. Gibson
Temple Sinai
Oct 27, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
The story of Noah and the flood is often presented as a children’s tale, something so fabulous and unbelievable we expect kids to be awed and adults to strain to suspend their disbelief. The story ...
The unforgiven
Shabbat Shuva, Haazinu, Deuteronomy, 32:1-52
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Oct 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
We must blindly forgive others, because God is forgiving, right? Wrong. Where in our Torah is God so forgiving? Whenever we did something wrong, God immediately punished us. I cannot recall one tim...
Seeing God’s love
Haazinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-52
by Rabbi Mike Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Sep 29, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
Congratulations! We have all made it to the first Shabbat of 5772. For the past week (or more) we have been wishing each other, “L’shana tova tikateyvu,” (may you be inscribed for a good year). Now...
We stand together …
Nitzavim-Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Sep 21, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
We are standing, all of us, in a circle. Spontaneously, we start singing “Lechi Lach,” to our teacher who is leaving. We send our hopes that she continues to “go forth,” that she is a blessing to h...
First fruits
Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8
by Rabbi Ron Symons
Director of Lifelong Learning
Temple Sinai
Sep 15, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
There are so many firsts for all of us at this time of year: first days of school, first leaves turning, first football games (Go Steelers!). For Jews, this perennial season of firsts finds its ori...
Matchmakers must remember why they do their job
Ki Tetze, 21:10-25:19
by Rabbi Martin William Shorr
Temple Hadar Israel, New Castle
Sep 08, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
This week's Torah portion talks about the laws of a sad, but real situation -- divorce. There are opinions from various rabbis in the Talmud relating to divorce. Interestingly, because there is a p...