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torah commentary
He fled outside
Parshat Vayishlach, Genesis 37:1-40:23 The Torah is a very concise document. Every phrase and every word is carefully measured out for maximum effect. When there is a superfluous word or a phrase o...
Dec 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend
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‘Act Your Age!’
Parshat Vayishlach Genesis 32:4-36:43 So I took yet another one of those online quizzes today. This one seeks to guess my age using my answers to just six questions focused on pop culture. The firs...
Dec 04, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Like dreamers
Even with all the diversity among the Jewish people, one sentence epitomizes the Jewish relationship with the Land of Israel. It was around the year 500 B.C.E. when our psalmist put quill to parchm...
Nov 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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I had no choice
Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 A parable told in “The Midrash Says” helps explain how the twin brothers of this week’s Torah portion could end up so very different: “A myrtle branch and a thorn...
Nov 20, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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The peace we owe to Avraham
Parshat Chayei Sarah Genesis 23:1 - 25:18 In this week’s parshah, each member of Avraham’s family undergoes a fundamental transition: Sarah dies, Yitzchak and Rivkah meet and marry, Avraham dies, Y...
Nov 13, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Guess who’s coming to minyan
Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 I do not recommend nor do I advocate that the Jewish law regarding the composition of a minyan should be abrogated in any fashion. But I do admire the openness an...
Nov 05, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Heed Kafka’s words this Passover
Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Apr 05, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
 Franz Kafka, a 20th century Jewish novelist, famously wrote, “You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world.  That is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature.  B...
Broken Hallelujah
Shabbat Hagadol 5772
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman
New Light Congregation
Mar 29, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend
“When do we eat?” my Aunt Florence would always ask 15 minutes after we began the seder. It is a source a disagreement in my family whether we should start early or late on seder night. Some argue ...
‘Days are scrolls — write on them’
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman
Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Mar 22, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
As we begin to read Vayikra/Leviticus this week, we plunge immediately into the details of sacrificial worship in ancient Israel. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 C.E. As it became clear...
Understanding the tabernacle today
Vayakhel-Pekudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Mar 15, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
In this Shabbat’s Torah portion, which is a combined one, we once again get a detailed description of the building of the tabernacle. As a contemporary Jew, I used to find no meaning for myself in ...
Own up to mistakes; it’s the honest thing to do
Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11-34:35
by Rabbi Donni C. Aaron
Jewish Community Center
Mar 08, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
I think the following scenario may sound familiar to all the parents out there: One of my children did something they were not supposed to do. When my husband and I confronted our child, our child ...
Struggle against evil
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Mar 01, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
Let's remember Pearl Harbor As we go to meet the foe Let's remember Pearl Harbor As we did the Alamo We will always remember how they died for liberty Let's remember Pearl Harbor and go on to victo...
‘Stop! Pay attention!’ The Torah says so
Teruma, Exodus 21:1-24:18
by Rabbi Stephanie Wolfe
Beth Samuel Jewish Center, Ambridge
Feb 24, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
Think back to one week ago today.  Can you remember what you ate that day? Can you remember the various people you spoke with?  Do you remember what you said? These are the kinds of details that so...
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...