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torah commentary
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 | 0 0 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 | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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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 | 2 2 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 | 2 2 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 | 3 3 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 | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Blessings or curses
Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Aug 26, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
In my college years, I traveled to Israel with a classmate. For each of us, it was not our first trip to Israel. Idealistic and naïve, we traveled on our own with plans to volunteer on a kibbutz. W...
Count us in
by Rabbi Joseph S. Weiss
B’nai Emunoh Congregation
Aug 19, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
The 110 verses of this week’s Torah portion contain an assortment of laws that cover practically every area of human endeavor. Seventy-four separate Mitzvos each with their attendant particular law...
Use these 40 days to rebuild
Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Aug 12, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
The Jewish world just entered into the month of Elul, the final month before Rosh Hashana.  In this portion, we read: “Judges and officers you shall appoint to you (emphasis mine) ... and they shal...
On recognizing the significance of Jerusalem
Re’eh, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Aug 05, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
The Torah portion we read this week, Re’eh, opens with God setting before the people both “blessing and curse;” the one we receive is based on how we respond to God’s commandments. How then to meri...
The everyman’s (and woman’s) Torah
Vaetchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs
UPMC Shadyside Hospital
Jul 22, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
In synagogues everywhere we raise the Torah after we finish reading it and recite a verse from this week’s parsha: “V’zot hatorah asher sam Moshe” (This is the Torah that Moshe presented before the...
Here to hear, hear to do
Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1 - 3:22
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Jul 15, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
As the Book of Deuteronomy begins this Shabbat, Moses and the people of Israel stand on the far side of the Jordan River. As rivers go, the Jordan is not nearly as impressive as the three rivers th...
All for one?
Mattot-Masei Numbers 30:2-36:13,28:9-15
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Congregation Emanu-El Israel
Jul 08, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
We are at the end of the Book of Numbers. In fact, this Shabbat is a double portion. The children of Israel are preparing to enter the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. B...
God’s compassion extends to men and women alike
Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1
by Rabbi Ronald B.B. Symons
Temple Sinai
Jul 01, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
This week’s Torah Portion, Pinchas, tells the precedent-making story of Zelophehad’s daughters. It reads: “The daughters of Zelophehad, of Manassite family — son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Mach...
Sticks and stones
Parshat Balak Numbers 22:2-25:9
by Rabbi James A. Gibson
Temple Sinai
Jun 24, 2010 | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
You all know the chant from our childhood: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” And when we think about it, we realize that not all childhood wisdom rings true. This ...
When a fruit is more than just a fruit
Shelach, Numbers 13:1-15:41
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Jun 03, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
On the ship over from Hungary to America, my wife’s grandmother encountered a banana for the first time. It may seem strange to us, but she did not even know to remove the peel before eating the fr...