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torah commentary
Let’s make a deal!
Parshat Vayetsei, Genesis 28:10-32:3 In this week’s portion, parashat Vayetsei, it seems that everyone is trying to pull a fast one on someone else. Laban tricks Jacob into marrying Leah instead of...
Nov 19, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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‘A Prophetess Among Us’
In the Hitchcock classic “Psycho,” we are treated to a grand misdirection. For the first half-hour of the film, we follow the story of Marion Crane, a bored and frustrated Phoenix secretary who ste...
Nov 10, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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What will they say when?
Parshat Chayei Sara, 23:1-25:18 Not to be morbid, but it is time for me to start thinking about what they might say at my funeral. Trust me, I have many years left (God willing), but it is still ti...
Nov 05, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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Pushing the limits
Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 How do we act when we’re under great pressure? What hidden strengths come out — and what weaknesses — as we navigate through rough times? Parshat Vayera invites u...
Oct 28, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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What’s in a name?
Parshat Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 This week, Parshat Lech Lecha, translated as “go forth,” chronicles the earliest part of the Abraham and Sarah biblical narrative. However, at the time of Ado...
Oct 22, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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We are not a country club
Parshat Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 Noah wasn’t Jewish. I find it interesting that our Torah began last week with Adam, not Abraham. It began with the first person, not the first Jew. We seem to forge...
Oct 14, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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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...
A lingering lesson
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 29, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend
Chol Hamoed Pesach Without a doubt, Passover is my favorite holiday. Food was always at the center of my family’s celebration and remembrance of our people’s journey from slavery to freedom (yours ...
Hallelu Yah!
by Cantor Richard Berlin, Parkway Jewish Center
Mar 20, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat HaGaddol Leviticus 6:1–8:36 This year, Parashat Tzav is also Shabbat HaGaddol — the last Shabbat before Passover. On Monday night, we will all sit down to our first Pesach seder. We’ll ask ...
Some say yes, some say no; I say ‘what if?’ What say you?
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 14, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 141 141 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 Every Jew who lived through the Six Day War recalls the thrilling image of Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, holding a sefer Torah and blowin...