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torah commentary
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 | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend
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‘Act Your Age!’
Parshat Vayishlach Genesis 32:4-36:43 So I took yet another one of those online quizzes today. This one seeks to guess my age using my answers to just six questions focused on pop culture. The firs...
Dec 04, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Like dreamers
Even with all the diversity among the Jewish people, one sentence epitomizes the Jewish relationship with the Land of Israel. It was around the year 500 B.C.E. when our psalmist put quill to parchm...
Nov 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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I had no choice
Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 A parable told in “The Midrash Says” helps explain how the twin brothers of this week’s Torah portion could end up so very different: “A myrtle branch and a thorn...
Nov 20, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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The peace we owe to Avraham
Parshat Chayei Sarah Genesis 23:1 - 25:18 In this week’s parshah, each member of Avraham’s family undergoes a fundamental transition: Sarah dies, Yitzchak and Rivkah meet and marry, Avraham dies, Y...
Nov 13, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Guess who’s coming to minyan
Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 I do not recommend nor do I advocate that the Jewish law regarding the composition of a minyan should be abrogated in any fashion. But I do admire the openness an...
Nov 05, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
‘Friending’ the stranger
Shelach, Numbers 13:1-15:41
by Rabbi Scott Aaron
Agency for Jewish Learning
Jun 14, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
In the rather cut-and-dry world of the Bible, one was identified by the people one was born in to, and kept that identity regardless of where one lived or whom one married. Israelites were Israelit...
The good, the bad, the opportunities
Be’ha-a-lot-cha (Numbers 8.1-12.16)
by Rabbi James A. Gibson
Temple Sinai
Jun 08, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” So Charles Dickens wrote in his epic “Tale of Two Cities,” his novel of revolutionary France. We could say the same thing about so much of wha...
Lesson from the greater northeast
Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89
by Rabbi David C. Novitsky Beth Israel Congregation
Washington, Pa.
May 31, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
I was born and raised in the largest shtetl in Pennsylvania known as northeast Philadelphia. The neighborhood was lined with a whole host of synagogues whose members were similar theologically and ...
Everyone counts
Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
May 24, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
This week, we begin the fourth book of the Torah — Bamidbar. In the portion bearing the same name, Moses is commanded to take a census of the people, to couxnt all who are over the age of 20 and ab...
What’s it Worth to You?
B’har/B’hukkotai Leviticus 25:1 –27:34
by Cantor Richard Berlin
Parkway Jewish Center
May 17, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend
We live in a time of materialism. We put a value on everything, whether a financial portfolio, the financial burden and impact of welfare and food stamps, or the crushing impact on unemployment and...
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 | 24 24 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 | 26 26 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 | 20 20 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 | 20 20 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 | 21 21 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...