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torah commentary
Communal living a suprarational command
Parshat Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 Is it more important to devote oneself to personal, spiritual develop­ment or to work for the good of the nation? I believe that a good argument can be made that co...
Jul 13, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of memory, especially to our history
Parshaht Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 In this week’s Torah portion, a rebellion breaks out against Moses’ leadership, led by the Levite Korach, Reubenites Dathan and Abiram and 250 chieftains of the ...
Jul 06, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
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When the minority gets it right
Parshat Shelach Numbers, 13:1-15:41 This week’s Torah portion is Shelach, the story of the 12 spies, sent by Moses to explore and learn more about the Promised Land — this land G-d had promised our...
Jun 30, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend
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The power — and importance — of words
Aaron and Miriam are speaking to each other. They criticize their brother for having married a Kushite woman.  God becomes angry at their speech and calls them to the Tent of Meeting. He chastises ...
Jun 23, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend
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The power of uplift, to make a day brighter
Parshat Nasso, Numbers 4:21-7:89 A few weeks ago at a shiva home, I heard a bereaved mother speak lovingly of her beloved daughter, Rivka. She related how, until Rivka’s funeral, she hadn’t fully a...
Jun 15, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend
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Look into the eyes
Parshat Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 It was quite an endeavor. Moses was commanded to count every male of Israel over the age of 20 who was able to serve in the army. He was some 82 years old and rec...
Jun 08, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Some things are required, not desired
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Sep 06, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 This week’s Torah portion begins with the instructions for personal tithing. The “first fruits” of the harvest of ground vegetation (onions, garlic, lettuce, etc.) ar...
The mitzvot of kindness
by Rabbi Eli Seidman, Jewish Association on Aging
Aug 30, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tzeitzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 The world is built through kindness … — Psalm 89:3 Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.  — Plato When I was young, I admired clever people....
Pursuing justice is harder than it sounds
by Rabbi James A. Gibson, Temple Sinai
Aug 23, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend
Shofetim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:19 If we had a top 10 list of popular teachings from Torah, the line from this week’s Torah portion would certainly qualify. It might even make the top five. In setti...
We cannot do as we please
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Aug 16, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend
Reeh Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 And God said in Deuteronomy 12:8, “You shall not continue to act as you have done so far, everyone doing what is right in her/his own sight.” But then how should we act...
Torah love is more action than feeling
by Rabbi Stephanie Wolfe, Beth Samuel Jewish Center
Aug 09, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend
Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:1 Do you remember your first love?  The one from high school or junior high whom you thought you would be with forever? For most of us, that story didn’t come true.  We learn as...
Deeply penetrating the heart
by Rabbi Ron Symons, Temple Sinai
Aug 02, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 60 60 recommendations | email to a friend
V’Etchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 I am writing these comments from a small faculty bedroom at the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Camp Harlam in the Poconos.  Harlam is one of 13 camps in the URJ ...
Love without reason trumps senseless hatred
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jul 26, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend
Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22 Last week, The Times of Israel published an article entitled, “Why I’m not fasting on Tisha B’Av this year.” The title arises out of the fact that this year, Tisha B’A...
Invisible realities
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs, UPMC Shadyside
Jul 19, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend
If one were to choose among the greatest benefactors of humanity, Louis Pasteur would certainly rank at the top. He solved the mysteries of rabies, anthrax, chicken cholera and silkworm diseases, a...
Daughters of Zelophehad came before feminism
by Rabbi Martin William Shorr, Temple Hadar Israel
Jul 12, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend
Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1 No need for coming that “long way baby,” G-d already got you there a long time ago. In recent times, more specifically the late 19th to the mid 20th century, women have ...
Klal Yisrael on a Wisconsin campground
by Rabbi Donni C. Aaron, Jewish Community Center
Jul 05, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend
Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9 Every summer, my family drives to Baraboo, Wis., specifically to the campsites at Devil’s Lake. For the last eight years, we have packed our tents, sleeping bags, bug spray...