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torah commentary
The seas speak of God’s justice
­ Parshat Noach Genesis 6:9-11:32 This Shabbat also marks Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan, the beginning of the one month in the Jewish calendar without any holidays at all. There is an interesting connec...
Oct 23, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Blessings for the miracles around us
Parshat Bereshit Genesis 1:1-6:8 Of all the Torah portions throughout the year, Bereshit is probably one of the most familiar ones in the Jewish community. And for this reason, we have heard many w...
Oct 20, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Approaching Yom Kippur, a thorough scrubbing for the New Year
Why does Rosh Hashanah precede Yom Kippur? You would think that if our sins were instantly forgiven on Yom Kippur, we would be in a better position on Rosh Hashanah to be inscribed for a new year o...
Oct 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Return again
Parshat Nitzavim/Vayelech Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 “Atah nitzavim, you are standing, all of you, this day before God. You, your leaders, and the most humble of the people.” So begins this week’s Tora...
Sep 30, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of ethical wills
Parshat Ha’azinu Deuteronomy 32:1-52 At the end of his life, Moses addresses us, the Israelites, for the last time in the Torah portion of Ha’azinu. He recounts the blessings that we have enjoyed a...
Sep 28, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Know it in your heart
Parsaht Ki Tavo Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 How long is a minute? When I was a child, my friends and I would test each other: Did we know how long a minute was? Of course we knew that a minute equaled 60...
Sep 09, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Do it to them first, or turn the other cheek?
Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Feb 16, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
“Let’s do it to them before they do it to us.” — Sgt. Stan Jablonski (“Hill Street Blues,” 1981 TV series)   Sounds terrible, does it not? I remember when Sgt. Jablonski took over for Sgt. Phil Est...
All Jews don’t look like Barbra Streisand
Yitro; Exodus 18:1-20:23
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 09, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
As I write these words I am preparing for our congregational/community journey to Haiti. By the time you read them, I, along with 11 others from Pittsburgh, will be in Haiti, providing physical exa...
Line from yesterday to tomorrow a map for faith
Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16
by Rabbi Ron Symons
Temple Sinai
Feb 02, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
Recently, while preparing for the 92nd Street Y Satellite Broadcast of Walter Issaacson speaking about his relationship with Steve Jobs, I was touched by Steve Jobs’ words: "Again, you can't connec...
Did God really harden Pharaoh’s heart?
Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16
by Rabbi Martin William Shorr
Hadar Israel, New Castle
Jan 26, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
There are two points to be shared in this week’s portion, Bo: First is in the very beginning of the passage, “Come to Pharaoh for I have made his heart, and the heart of his servants hard, so my si...
Pausing to think
Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs
UPMC Shadyside
Jan 18, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend
Prior to the plague of hail, Pharoah and the people of Egypt were warned that anything left out in the field would be crushed and destroyed by the hail. The Torah relates that those who feared the ...
Get the name right!
Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
by Rabbi Audrey Korotkin
Temple Beth Israel, Altoona
Jan 13, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
Days before my rabbinic ordination, I got a chance to see my smicha certificate for the first time — and was aghast. The calligrapher had gotten my Hebrew name wrong! Not mine, but my dad’s, which ...
Jacob’s ethical will
Jewish Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26
by Rabbi Eli Seidma
Jewish Association on Aging
Jan 05, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
In my work with Sivitz Jewish Hospice, I often help patients review the events of their lives and pass along wisdom and advice to the next generation. People discuss the decisions they made, the re...
The mitzva of taking
Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Dec 30, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
No, not the “mitzva of giving” (although I know it is the season). I once met a man who explained to others that the reason we tear our garments at a time of mourning is to let others know to leave...
Where God fits into Chanuka
Miketz, Genesis, 41:1-44:17
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Dec 22, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
I would like to get the bumper sticker that says, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” but I am afraid that people would take it the wrong way. My reasoning: The more that Christmas becomes secularized, the...
‘From darkness to light’
Veyeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Dec 15, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeshev, our patriarch Jacob learns of the supposed death of his beloved son Joseph. In point of fact, Joseph is not actually dead, but rather has been sold into slav...