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torah commentary
Do the math
Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 In my many opportunities to study the Torah with people, either in a group class or individually, I often remind people that as we read and study the verses we mu...
Nov 30, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
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Because we love, we grieve
Parshat Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 Our matriarch Sarah dies in the beginning of the Torah portion Chayei Sarah, and Abraham dies at the end. In between, we read about the events leading to th...
Nov 23, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
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Despite all obstacles, never give up
Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 In this week’s Torah portion our forefather Abraham undergoes the greatest challenge of his life: He is called upon to surrender his son to the Almighty.  Abraham...
Nov 17, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
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The making of a covenant with men and women
Parshat Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:28 Almost 25 years after God calls Abram to leave his home in Mesopotamia and go to the land of Canaan, God formally establishes a covenant with him. Like that e...
Nov 10, 2016 | 1 1 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend
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Being the right kind of agnostic
Parashat Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 When it comes to questions of belief, the agnostic is the loneliest of all. On one side of the fence stands the atheist, confident in his rejection of God and ofte...
Nov 02, 2016 | 1 1 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend
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Being a part of creation without destroying it
Parshat Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6:8 In six days, God created the world and then rested. However, we have not rested. We God-inspired humans use technology, competition and at times hubris to continue...
Oct 27, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Give more than you take
by Rabbi Ron Symons, Temple Sinai
Jun 06, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 191 191 recommendations | email to a friend
Shelach, Numbers 13:1-15:41 “Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, took himself, along with Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On, son of Peleth — descendants of Reuben — to rise up...
Wearing tzitzit a suka of peace
by Cantor Michal Gray-Schaffer, Congregation B’nai Abraham, Butler
May 30, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 185 185 recommendations | email to a friend
Shelach Lecha, Numbers 13:1–15:41 This week’s parsha contains the well-known story of the 12 spies sent into Canaan to assess the strength of the indigenous people and the productivity of the land....
No inconsequential kindness
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs, UPMC Shadyside
May 23, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 184 184 recommendations | email to a friend
Beha-Alotekha, Numbers 8:1-12:16 When Miriam the prophetess sinned and was afflicted with tza’raas [a spiritual ‘leprosy-like’ disease], she was required to remain outside the camp. During her reco...
Broken promises addressed by Torah
by Rabbi Martin William Shorr, Temple Hadar Israel, New Castle
May 17, 2013 | 2 2 comments | 191 191 recommendations | email to a friend
Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89 Parsha Naso is interesting. While a great deal of the sedra refers to its name, identifying the offerings and count of the leaders of each tribe, or nasiam, there are isolat...
Our firstborn no longer belong to God
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
May 09, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 172 172 recommendations | email to a friend
Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 Once upon a time, a long time ago, every firstborn belonged to God. We were always supposed to give the first of all “our fruits” to God, literally. Now, let’s go way bac...
Shabbat as a utopian ideal
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno, Rodef Shalom Congregation
May 02, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 169 169 recommendations | email to a friend
Behar-Behukotai, Leviticus 25:1-27:34 This week’s Torah reading is drawn from a double portion, Behar-Behukotai. Behar is associated with the laws of sabbatical; that is, we are instructed to allow...
You kiss your mother with that mouth? Blasphemy then and now
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Apr 25, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Emor, Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23 This week’s portion ends with a troubling story of blasphemy, social isolation and death.  (I know … a lot of our Torah portions have troubling stories of blasp...
‘Can’t we all just get along?’
by Rabbi James Gibson, Temple Sinai
Apr 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 147 147 recommendations | email to a friend
Achare Mot–Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1-20:27 Those famous words, “Can’t we all just get along?” were plaintively said by Rodney King, whose beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Police more than 20 ...
Getting it together
by Rabbi Joe Hample, Tree of Life Congregation, Morgantown, W.Va.
Apr 10, 2013 | 1 1 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend
Tazria-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33 Just between you and me, I feel a lot of ambivalence.  I’m full of faith and doubt, calm and stress, gloom and hope.  I’m an introverted extrovert, a sloppy per...
That which enters your mouth is also important
by Rabbi David Novitsky, Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa
Apr 04, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 136 136 recommendations | email to a friend
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 There are those who believe that the Jewish dietary laws were given to the people of Israel primarily for health concerns.  They maintain that the unclean animals enume...