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torah commentary
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 | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend
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‘Act Your Age!’
Parshat Vayishlach Genesis 32:4-36:43 So I took yet another one of those online quizzes today. This one seeks to guess my age using my answers to just six questions focused on pop culture. The firs...
Dec 04, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Like dreamers
Even with all the diversity among the Jewish people, one sentence epitomizes the Jewish relationship with the Land of Israel. It was around the year 500 B.C.E. when our psalmist put quill to parchm...
Nov 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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I had no choice
Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 A parable told in “The Midrash Says” helps explain how the twin brothers of this week’s Torah portion could end up so very different: “A myrtle branch and a thorn...
Nov 20, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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The peace we owe to Avraham
Parshat Chayei Sarah Genesis 23:1 - 25:18 In this week’s parshah, each member of Avraham’s family undergoes a fundamental transition: Sarah dies, Yitzchak and Rivkah meet and marry, Avraham dies, Y...
Nov 13, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Guess who’s coming to minyan
Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 I do not recommend nor do I advocate that the Jewish law regarding the composition of a minyan should be abrogated in any fashion. But I do admire the openness an...
Nov 05, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
The Purim paradox: Now more than ever
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Zachor, Leviticus 6:1-8:36 One of my rabbis in seminary told this story: While serving as an Army chaplain, a soldier professed to him, “I believe every word in the Bible!” The rabbi replie...
Little alephs need our help
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman, Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Mar 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 In this week’s parshah, which is the beginning of the book of Leviticus, we have something very unusual in the Torah scroll.  The first word, Vayikra, which means “And H...
Holy housewarming can strengthen community
by Rabbi Joe Hample, Tree of Life Congregation, Morgantown, W.Va.
Feb 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
Suppose you fell in love, and wanted your beloved to move in with you.  You would probably arrange the residence exactly the way s/he likes it, with the furniture positioned and the tchotchkes depl...
Life is most precious, but don’t diminish art’s value
by Rabbi David Katz Temple Ohav Shalom, Allison Park
Feb 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20 In 1980, when I began to date my wife, Nancy, she was already an accomplished painter, and her students were exhibiting at the Guggenheim Museum.  I liked her because sh...
We are all reflections of the Divine
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Feb 14, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35 I recently had the option of purchasing the same bracelet in either silver or copper. The silver version was more expensive and elegant. There was something compelling,...
You light up my life
by Rabbi Michael Werbow, Congregation Beth Shalom
Feb 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10 When one sits down to study Torah, there is much uncertainty as to where he will find meaning.  When a person takes the opportunity to study the weekly parshah, she ope...
Beyond the synagogue: Prayers with the seriously ill
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, New Light Congregation
Jan 30, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
In my work as a multifaith chaplain for Forbes Hospice, I’ve encountered many elderly people who have become disconnected with their home church or synagogue.  Some of them are ill, but many are pe...
Talking and walking, they need each other
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman, Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Jan 22, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18 With the portion Mishpatim, the narrative parts of the Torah are now largely behind us. There are more stories scattered throughout the remainder, but from now through ...
We can’t do it all alone
by Cantor Henry Shapiro, Parkway Jewish Center
Jan 15, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
This week’s parsha, of Yitro, has two main topics. The first concerns the visit of Yitro, the father-in-law of Moses. The second is the revelation at Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments. Certainly...
Make a joyful noise
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jan 08, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16 The public radio program “Radiolab” recently aired a story about a man expressing pure joy. The man, Aleksander Gamme, is an adventurer; the event happened on day 86 o...