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torah commentary
Acting out of spite
Parshat Va’era, Exodus 6:2-9:3 “Pride comes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18) C.S. Lewis: “For pride is spiritual cancer: It eats up the very possibility ...
Jan 14, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of a Jewish soul
Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1 A few weeks ago, publisher David Suissa reported on the White House Chanukah party he attended: “So, when the president got closer to us and I was prepared to launch ...
Jan 07, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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Understanding Joseph
Parshat Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26 According to a recently published survey from a company called School Stickers, and as reported by the internet-media company Buzzfeed, the Top 10 most common n...
Dec 31, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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End of year, end of story
Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 As we close out the year, we also draw to a close the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Even though we have one more parshah to finish the book, this week’s po...
Dec 23, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Who will interpret our nightmares? Magicians or sages?
Parshat Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:17 In this week’s Torah portion, Joseph has fallen from fatherly favor to the depths of Pharaoh’s dungeons. The dreams of his youth seem to mock him. He is cast away...
Dec 17, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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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 | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Happy and holy Mother’s Day
Emor, Leviticus 21:1 - 24:23
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
May 10, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend
I write this D’var Torah on April 22. Today would have been my mother’s 95th birthday. We celebrated my mother’s last birthday in 2005 when my family gathered for Shabbat dinner at her residence at...
‘After death … there is holiness’
Parashat Acharei Mot - Kedoshim
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
May 04, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend
In order to complete the reading of the Torah in a timely way this year, it is necessary to double up certain weekly Torah readings.  This week we read from a double portion, the combination of Par...
‘Icky, gooey, itchy’ parsha touts ageless role model
Tazra-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33    
by Rabbi Barbara Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Apr 26, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
“The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: ‘When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling, a rash or a discoloration, and it develops into a scaly affliction on the skin of his body, it sha...
Something to chew on
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47
by Rabbi Michael Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Apr 19, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
The pursuit to find reasons for the mitzvot is long standing. As far back as the Mishna, the Talmud and Midrash, (second century B.C.E. to fifth century C.E.) the rabbis were looking for “ta’amei h...
Do the tithe thing
Passover, Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17; Numbers 28:19-25
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Apr 12, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
The regular Torah reading for the eighth day of Passover discusses the consecration of all firstborn animals to God and the festival calendar, clearly connecting to the observance of the holiday. H...
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 | 20 20 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 | 32 32 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 | 18 18 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 | 22 22 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 | 26 26 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 ...