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torah commentary
First steps on the path to the Promised Land
Parshat Beshalach, Exodus 13:17 - 17:16 Redemption! Parshat Beshalach is a Torah portion of glory — glory in the Song at the Sea, the poetic celebration of liberation from Egyptian bondage, and glo...
Feb 09, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
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Genealogy only goes so far
Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16 Why is the killing of the firstborn the final, and most significant, plague? True, it brought death into every household, rattling Egypt at its foundations, but certai...
Feb 01, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend
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A condemnation of one’s own making
Parshat Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35 During this past summer I had the opportunity to spend a Shabbat with the Yeshiva High School boys at Camp Twin Echo in the Laurel Highlands. After Shabbat I stopped ...
Jan 25, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend
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Moshe’s curious mind
Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1 A new Pharaoh has risen.  The people Israel are enslaved and oppressed, and their very lives are in danger.  Into this frightening reality, a baby is born who then be...
Jan 19, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend
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Our top priority: Service to G-d
The Torah portion this week relates a fascinating exchange between father and son. Jacob was lying on his deathbed when he turned to his second to the youngest son, Joseph, whom at the time was the...
Jan 11, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend
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Imperfect forgiveness
Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 The story of Joseph and his brothers is a story of life and death. The brothers seek to destroy Joseph; a famine attacks the land; Joseph as Egyptian prime min...
Jan 05, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
The making of a covenant with men and women
by Dr. Ellen M. Umansky
Nov 10, 2016 | 1 1 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:28 Almost 25 years after God calls Abram to leave his home in Mesopotamia and go to the land of Canaan, God formally establishes a covenant with him. Like that e...
Being the right kind of agnostic
by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Nov 02, 2016 | 1 1 comments | 78 78 recommendations | email to a friend
Parashat Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 When it comes to questions of belief, the agnostic is the loneliest of all. On one side of the fence stands the atheist, confident in his rejection of God and ofte...
Being a part of creation without destroying it
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Oct 27, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 92 92 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6:8 In six days, God created the world and then rested. However, we have not rested. We God-inspired humans use technology, competition and at times hubris to continue...
Happiness is a choice, not a chase
by Rabbi Mendy Schapiro
Oct 19, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 91 91 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Sukkot, Leviticus 22:26-23:44, Numbers 29:12 - 29:16 This brief but bold phrase that has become such a part of the fabric of our society seems in some way to mirror our Jewish holidays of t...
A failure of leadership and Moses’ downfall
by Rabbi Reuven Firestone
Oct 13, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 98 98 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Ha’azinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-52 This is one of the shorter sections of the Torah, and it is made up almost entirely of a breathtaking and chastening poem. The term “awesome” tends to be overu...
Yom Kippur as festive wedding day
by Rabbi Yisroel Altein
Oct 05, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 112 112 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Vayeilech, Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30 This week we will be celebrating Yom Kippur. More Jews will be going to a synagogue on this day than any other day in the year. How can we be sure that we ...
Standing together for what is right
by Rabbi Chuck Diamond
Sep 28, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 125 125 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Nitzavim, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 Atem nitzavim hayom kulchem — these words that I practiced over and over again some 48 years ago as I trained for my bar mitzvah. These words that my whole ...
Upward and onward … and don’t look back!
by Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel
Sep 22, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 132 132 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 One of the most beautiful and popular verses in Torah is found in this week’s Parshah, Ki Tavo. In the midst of showering the People of Israel with blessings,...
Erasing and rewriting Amalek’s name
by Rabbi Aaron Benjamin Bisno
Sep 15, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 134 134 recommendations | email to a friend
In Jewish tradition a reference to Amalek is a reminder in every generation of all who have ever sought to rise and destroy our people. As Moses implores, in this week’s Torah portion Ki Teitzei, w...
Our great community of leaders
by Rabbi Elchonon Friedman
Sep 07, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 At the end of Parshat Shoftim the Torah teaches us the mitzvah of “Eglah Arufa.” This mitzvah is that if a man is found lifeless in the countryside and it i...