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torah commentary
An easy choice?
Parashat Re'eh “And God said, I have set before you today a choice: a blessing or a curse.” Now who in their right mind would choose a curse over a blessing? Throughout our Torah there are many lis...
Aug 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Using our memories as a guide
Parshat Ekev Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 When you look back at the current conflict in Israel, what will you remember? Will it be a focus on the missiles coming into Israel or those going out?  On Iron ...
Aug 13, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Change of Mood
After the tragedy of Tisha B’Av, our mood changes. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of Consolation. It takes its name from the words of Isaiah: “Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people...
Aug 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
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Reason together
Parshat Devarim Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22 My spiritual quest began in my lonely college years. If my peers didn’t understand me, maybe God would. I got involved with Hillel, took some Hebrew, went on a ...
Aug 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
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Meaningful midrash of Tisha B’av
The story of Kansa and Bar Kamsa (Talmud Gittin, 55) illustrates the divided nature of the Jewish people that ultimately led to the terrible destruction of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem on Tisha B’a...
Aug 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Israel’s borders – from Torah or diplomacy?
Mas’ei Numbers 33.1-36.15 In Mas-ei, which ends the book of Bemidar, our Torah outlines specific borders to the land promised by God to our people, a promise extending all the way back to Avraham a...
Jul 24, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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Be humble, but not too humble
Vayikra; Leviticus 1:1-5:26
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 10, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayikra, the last letter of the first word, an alef, is written smaller than the rest of the letters in the word. Simcha Bunem of Przysucha provides one interpretation...
Shabbat Shekalim: A little bit goes a long way
Pekudei, Exodus 38:21-40:38
by Rabbi Scott Aaron
Agency for Jewish Learning
Mar 03, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
March 5 is Shabbat Shekalim, one of four special Shabbats preceding Passover in the Hebrew month of Adar that have special thematic Torah readings in addition to the scheduled Torah portion for tha...
The embroidered screen
Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman
Temple B'nai Israel, White Oak
Feb 28, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
Construction of the mishkan, the portable sanctuary, is the main subject of Vayakhel, this week’s Torah portion. The gathering of materials, the appointment of artist/managers, the fabrication of c...
Jewish heroes made the right moves on Purim
Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35
by Rabbi Joseph S. Weiss
B’nai Emunoh Congregation
Feb 17, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
This week would be Purim, if it were not a leap year in the Hebrew calendar, and we would have read the Megilla. In the Megilla of Esther, Mordechai overhears Bigthan And Terresh plotting secretly ...
Tetazaveh – Where is Moses?
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 10, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
Jewish tradition teaches that as Moses was the Israelites’ first political leader, his older brother, Aaron, was their first religious leader. Yet for all their unique accomplishments, neither Aaro...
If you build it, God will come; if you don’t, God won’t
South Hills Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Feb 03, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
“Do you ever have doubts about God?” One of my confirmation students asked me this question recently. I took her question seriously. I wanted to give her not merely a quick answer, but a good one. ...
Is idolatry still with us?
Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Jan 20, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
Who are your idols? When reviewing the Ten Commandments, many of us probably skim the second commandment, the one about idols. That was a biblical commandment for biblical times, right? Yet because...
First steps toward freedom: Remembering Debbie Friedman
Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jan 14, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
The crossing of the Sea of Reeds, which we read about in this week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, marked a pivotal moment for the Israelites. It transformed an enslaved group of individuals into a fre...
‘Go’… and Happy Birthday
Bo, Exodus 10:1 –13:16
by Cantor Richard Berlin, Spiritual Leader
Parkway Jewish Center
Jan 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
A parsha’s name usually comes from its first important word. Bo is the fourth word this week. This parsha starts, “The Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh. For I have hardened his heart … that you m...
The season of bringing signs
Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35
by Rabbi Michael Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Dec 29, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
Moses is trying to tackle a big job. He not only has to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go so they can serve God, he also has to convince the Israelites. The signs that God gives Moses: his ...