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torah commentary
Water for body and soul
Parshat Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1 The day before this is published I will have returned safely, God willing, from a visit to my beloved native Arizona desert. It is a place of austere grandeur and ...
Jun 24, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Don't be a hater
Occasionally, one of my sons doesn’t like my final decision and he quotes a line from a Taylor Swift song, “Don’t be a hater Mom,” he says. Who realized that Taylor Swift knew Torah, specifically p...
Jun 18, 2015 | 1 1 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
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God’s reputation or mission?
Parshat Sh'lach L'cha, Numbers 13.1-15.41 This week’s parsha finds our people caught in a classic “good news-bad news” scenario. The good news is that our troop of 12 spies has walked up and down t...
Jun 11, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
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Be like Miriam
Parshat Beha’alotecha, Numbers 8:1-12:16 There is a Hebrew song that I sang often in my NFTY days: Mitzvah goreret mitzvah, averah goreret averah, “one good deed leads to another good deed, one tra...
Jun 03, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
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It all adds up
Parshat Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89 Gematria explains a word or group of words according to the numerical equivalent of its letters. Alef = 1, bet = 2, gimmel = 3, etc. Both the Babylonians and Greeks ...
May 29, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
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We were all at Mount Sinai
Parshat Bemidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 “And God said to us at Mount Sinai, ‘Today you stand before Me, all of you, your leaders and your followers, your children and your wives, even the stranger; all ...
May 20, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Get the name right!
Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
by Rabbi Audrey Korotkin
Temple Beth Israel, Altoona
Jan 13, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 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 | 13 13 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 | 16 16 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 | 10 10 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...
Instant gratification
Toledot, Genesis 25:19-28:9
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Nov 23, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
“The boys grew up. Esau became a skilled trapper, a man of the field. Jacob was a scholarly man who remained with the tents.” — Genesis 25:27 Jacob and Esau were fraternal twins, but they couldn’t ...
In circle of life, loved ones come and go
Chaye Sarah, 23:1-25:18
by Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner
Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va.
Nov 17, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
We are all familiar with the phrase “circle of life.” I couldn’t help but think of this idea in relation to this week’s Torah portion, for life and death are intertwined. As Jews, we have a wide ra...
Speaking to the future
Parshat Vayeira
Genesis 18:1-22-24
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman
New Light Congregation
Nov 10, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend
On Rosh Hashana, we read the story of the Akeida, the near-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, taken out of the context of the Genesis narrative. We weave Abraham as hero into the High Holy Day themes o...