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torah commentary
Being there in spirit
Parshat Matot Numbers 30:2-32:42 In this week’s Torah portion, representatives of the Tribes of Reuben and Gad approach Moses. They have prospered on the east side of the Jordan. They have many her...
Jul 16, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Seeing the big picture need not require standing on the vista
Parshat Pinchas Numbers 25:10-30:1 In this week’s Torah portion, God commands Moses to ascend the hills from the other side of the Jordan River and look into the land of Israel. God reminds him tha...
Jul 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Routine decisions can point us in the right direction
Parshat Balak Numbers 22:2-25:9 In this week’s Torah reading, King Balak of Moab retains the sorcerer Balaam to curse the Jewish people. Instead of curses, only blessings come out of his mouth. Whe...
Jul 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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In each generation ...
Parshat Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 One of the major events related in Parshat Chukat is the death of Miriam, the older sister of Moses and Aaron. Immediately after this, we read that the Israelites w...
Jun 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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How can things go wrong? Let me count the ways
German is the most frustrating language. I’ve done Russian, French and Hebrew. I’ve learned new alphabets, switched from left to right. But nothing beats a complex German sentence to make a new stu...
Jun 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Jerusalem the Holy
R Bamidbar The capital cities of every nation on earth are built on major trade routes or rivers.   They became capitals because they were centers of commerce and easily accessible. Jerusalem is th...
May 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Line from yesterday to tomorrow a map for faith
Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16
by Rabbi Ron Symons
Temple Sinai
Feb 02, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
Recently, while preparing for the 92nd Street Y Satellite Broadcast of Walter Issaacson speaking about his relationship with Steve Jobs, I was touched by Steve Jobs’ words: "Again, you can't connec...
Did God really harden Pharaoh’s heart?
Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16
by Rabbi Martin William Shorr
Hadar Israel, New Castle
Jan 26, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
There are two points to be shared in this week’s portion, Bo: First is in the very beginning of the passage, “Come to Pharaoh for I have made his heart, and the heart of his servants hard, so my si...
Pausing to think
Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs
UPMC Shadyside
Jan 18, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
Prior to the plague of hail, Pharoah and the people of Egypt were warned that anything left out in the field would be crushed and destroyed by the hail. The Torah relates that those who feared the ...
Get the name right!
Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
by Rabbi Audrey Korotkin
Temple Beth Israel, Altoona
Jan 13, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
Days before my rabbinic ordination, I got a chance to see my smicha certificate for the first time — and was aghast. The calligrapher had gotten my Hebrew name wrong! Not mine, but my dad’s, which ...
Jacob’s ethical will
Jewish Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26
by Rabbi Eli Seidma
Jewish Association on Aging
Jan 05, 2012 | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
In my work with Sivitz Jewish Hospice, I often help patients review the events of their lives and pass along wisdom and advice to the next generation. People discuss the decisions they made, the re...
The mitzva of taking
Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Dec 30, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
No, not the “mitzva of giving” (although I know it is the season). I once met a man who explained to others that the reason we tear our garments at a time of mourning is to let others know to leave...
Where God fits into Chanuka
Miketz, Genesis, 41:1-44:17
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Dec 22, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend
I would like to get the bumper sticker that says, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” but I am afraid that people would take it the wrong way. My reasoning: The more that Christmas becomes secularized, the...
‘From darkness to light’
Veyeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Dec 15, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeshev, our patriarch Jacob learns of the supposed death of his beloved son Joseph. In point of fact, Joseph is not actually dead, but rather has been sold into slav...
What’s in a name? A lot!
Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4-36:43
by Rabbi Michael Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Dec 08, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” — Shakespeare Each one of us received a name when we were born.  Our parents thought long and hard to give us a...
Great good comes from ordinary people
Vayetze, Genesis 28:10-32:3
by Rabbi Joseph S. Weiss
Bnai Emunoh Congregation
Dec 01, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
The Torah is always very economical with its words. We have very little biographical detail about any of the patriarchs, of Moses growing up in the household of Pharoah. We are introduced to Abraha...