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torah commentary
Communal living a suprarational command
Parshat Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 Is it more important to devote oneself to personal, spiritual develop­ment or to work for the good of the nation? I believe that a good argument can be made that co...
Jul 13, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of memory, especially to our history
Parshaht Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 In this week’s Torah portion, a rebellion breaks out against Moses’ leadership, led by the Levite Korach, Reubenites Dathan and Abiram and 250 chieftains of the ...
Jul 06, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
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When the minority gets it right
Parshat Shelach Numbers, 13:1-15:41 This week’s Torah portion is Shelach, the story of the 12 spies, sent by Moses to explore and learn more about the Promised Land — this land G-d had promised our...
Jun 30, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend
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The power — and importance — of words
Aaron and Miriam are speaking to each other. They criticize their brother for having married a Kushite woman.  God becomes angry at their speech and calls them to the Tent of Meeting. He chastises ...
Jun 23, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend
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The power of uplift, to make a day brighter
Parshat Nasso, Numbers 4:21-7:89 A few weeks ago at a shiva home, I heard a bereaved mother speak lovingly of her beloved daughter, Rivka. She related how, until Rivka’s funeral, she hadn’t fully a...
Jun 15, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend
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Look into the eyes
Parshat Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 It was quite an endeavor. Moses was commanded to count every male of Israel over the age of 20 who was able to serve in the army. He was some 82 years old and rec...
Jun 08, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
What makes us count
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Feb 12, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 132 132 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18 During my freshman year of college, I was one of the lucky ones. There it was in my mailbox waiting for me to be filled out, waiting for me to answer its many q...
Both procedural and substantive justice thou shall pursue
by Rabbi David Novitsky
Feb 04, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 138 138 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s Torah portion, Jethro observes his son-in-law Moses judging the people while they stand and wait morning until evening. Both Moses and the litigants are worn out because of a legal s...
Enemies without and within
by Rabbi James Gibson
Jan 29, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 137 137 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Beshallach, Exodus 13:17-17:16 “From the frying pan into the fire,” we used to say, going from one trouble to another. In this week’s Torah portion, our people experience such an amazing sa...
The divinity in us all
by Rabbi Aaron Benjamin Bisno
Jan 21, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 221 221 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16 This week’s Torah Portion opens with God commanding Moses, bo el paraoh. Most English translations render this decree as, “Go to Pharaoh,” but in Hebrew the imperative...
Acting out of spite
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jan 14, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 213 213 recommendations | email to a friend
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 ...
The importance of a Jewish soul
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry
Jan 07, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 218 218 recommendations | email to a friend
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 ...
Understanding Joseph
by Rabbi Aaron Benjamin Bisno
Dec 31, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 229 229 recommendations | email to a friend
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...
End of year, end of story
by Cantor Henry Shapiro
Dec 23, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 222 222 recommendations | email to a friend
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...
Who will interpret our nightmares? Magicians or sages?
by Rabbi James Gibson
Dec 17, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 213 213 recommendations | email to a friend
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...
He fled outside
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Dec 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 216 216 recommendations | email to a friend
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...