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torah commentary
Nothing to fear but fear itself
Parashat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 This week we read the portion of Shemini, in which the Mishkan, the Tabernacle for the Almighty, is inaugurated and Aaron the High Priest leads the service for...
Apr 20, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
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Silence is more than golden
Chol Hamoed, Pesach: Exodus 33:12 - 34:26, Numbers 28:19-25 The last days of the festival of Passover are dedicated to the splitting of the Reed Sea, one of the most dramatic and cataclysmic events...
Apr 19, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
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With Elijah’s help, do it for the children
Parshat Tzav, Shabbat HaGadol, Leviticus 6:1-8:36 The Shabbat before Passover is called Shabbat Hagadol (the Great Sabbath), a phrase deriving from the last verse of the prophetic portion read on t...
Apr 05, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
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Keeping two truths
Parshat Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 Is bigger really better? True or false? 1. The more we appreciate our insignificance, the more selfish we become.  2. Feelings of insignificance make a person se...
Mar 30, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend
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Let us strengthen one another
Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20 I’m a college-town rabbi: Morgantown revolves around West Virginia University. The Hillel kids — the Jewish college students — teach in my Sunday school, they help with ...
Mar 23, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend
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Let us not forget the stragglers
“Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt. How, undeterred by fear of G-d, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the straggl...
Mar 08, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Wearing tzitzit a suka of peace
by Cantor Michal Gray-Schaffer, Congregation B’nai Abraham, Butler
May 30, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 185 185 recommendations | email to a friend
Shelach Lecha, Numbers 13:1–15:41 This week’s parsha contains the well-known story of the 12 spies sent into Canaan to assess the strength of the indigenous people and the productivity of the land....
No inconsequential kindness
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs, UPMC Shadyside
May 23, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 184 184 recommendations | email to a friend
Beha-Alotekha, Numbers 8:1-12:16 When Miriam the prophetess sinned and was afflicted with tza’raas [a spiritual ‘leprosy-like’ disease], she was required to remain outside the camp. During her reco...
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 ...