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torah commentary
Acting out of spite
Parshat Va’era, Exodus 6:2-9:3 “Pride comes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18) C.S. Lewis: “For pride is spiritual cancer: It eats up the very possibility ...
Jan 14, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of a Jewish soul
Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1 A few weeks ago, publisher David Suissa reported on the White House Chanukah party he attended: “So, when the president got closer to us and I was prepared to launch ...
Jan 07, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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Understanding Joseph
Parshat Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26 According to a recently published survey from a company called School Stickers, and as reported by the internet-media company Buzzfeed, the Top 10 most common n...
Dec 31, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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End of year, end of story
Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 As we close out the year, we also draw to a close the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Even though we have one more parshah to finish the book, this week’s po...
Dec 23, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Who will interpret our nightmares? Magicians or sages?
Parshat Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:17 In this week’s Torah portion, Joseph has fallen from fatherly favor to the depths of Pharaoh’s dungeons. The dreams of his youth seem to mock him. He is cast away...
Dec 17, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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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 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
The embroidered screen
Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman
Temple B'nai Israel, White Oak
Feb 28, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
Construction of the mishkan, the portable sanctuary, is the main subject of Vayakhel, this week’s Torah portion. The gathering of materials, the appointment of artist/managers, the fabrication of c...
Jewish heroes made the right moves on Purim
Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35
by Rabbi Joseph S. Weiss
B’nai Emunoh Congregation
Feb 17, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
This week would be Purim, if it were not a leap year in the Hebrew calendar, and we would have read the Megilla. In the Megilla of Esther, Mordechai overhears Bigthan And Terresh plotting secretly ...
Tetazaveh – Where is Moses?
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 10, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
Jewish tradition teaches that as Moses was the Israelites’ first political leader, his older brother, Aaron, was their first religious leader. Yet for all their unique accomplishments, neither Aaro...
If you build it, God will come; if you don’t, God won’t
South Hills Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Feb 03, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
“Do you ever have doubts about God?” One of my confirmation students asked me this question recently. I took her question seriously. I wanted to give her not merely a quick answer, but a good one. ...
Is idolatry still with us?
Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Temple David, Monroeville
Jan 20, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
Who are your idols? When reviewing the Ten Commandments, many of us probably skim the second commandment, the one about idols. That was a biblical commandment for biblical times, right? Yet because...
First steps toward freedom: Remembering Debbie Friedman
Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jan 14, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
The crossing of the Sea of Reeds, which we read about in this week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, marked a pivotal moment for the Israelites. It transformed an enslaved group of individuals into a fre...
‘Go’… and Happy Birthday
Bo, Exodus 10:1 –13:16
by Cantor Richard Berlin, Spiritual Leader
Parkway Jewish Center
Jan 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
A parsha’s name usually comes from its first important word. Bo is the fourth word this week. This parsha starts, “The Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh. For I have hardened his heart … that you m...
The season of bringing signs
Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35
by Rabbi Michael Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Dec 29, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
Moses is trying to tackle a big job. He not only has to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go so they can serve God, he also has to convince the Israelites. The signs that God gives Moses: his ...
The biblical mama grizzly
Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
by Rabbi Scott Aaron
Agency for Jewish Learning
Dec 23, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
This week’s Torah portion, Shemot, contains one of the most perplexing stories in the Torah. While Exodus 4:24-26 is only three lines, it has long raised pages of questions: “At a night encampment ...
The struggle for meaning: the masterpiece that is life
Parshat Veyechi Genesis: 47-28-50:26/I Kings 2:1-12
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Dec 16, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
We have been taught that artists, when constructing a masterpiece, are not well served if they continually wield the brush. At times, artists must put the brush down, step back from the canvas and ...