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torah commentary
Words for us to hear
Parshat Va’etchanan Deuteronomy 3:23–7:11 What is the most universally known Hebrew phrase in the Jewish tradition? If you’ve been to a lot of Jewish weddings and b’nai mitzvah ceremonies, you migh...
Aug 04, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend
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Living wills offer sense of strength, wholeness
Parshat Matot-Masei, Numbers 30:2-31:12 My son Harrison thinks it is strange when I say that helping families through the dying process and a funeral is one of the most rewarding parts of my rabbin...
Jul 21, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend
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The key to Jewish survival
Parashat Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1 When the Torah counts the Jewish people in this week’s Parsha (Pinchas), each family is counted individually. When the Torah says the name of each family, it pr...
Jul 12, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend
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When a curse is transformed into a prayer
Parashat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9 What would we find in the Torah were we to open it up and look through its pages? Many would suggest we’d find “prayers.” As it happens, there are actually very fe...
Jul 05, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend
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The importance of acceptance
Parashat Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1 In the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, we break from the historical narrative of the Jewish people wandering in the desert. The Torah pauses to tell us a ...
Jun 28, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend
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A new sheriff in town? Not so fast
Parshat Korach, Numbers 16:1–18:32 Since the beginning of recorded time there have always been political challenges to the leadership and the establishment of every society and institution. Moses a...
Jun 22, 2017 | 0 0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Holy history or sacred seeds?
by Rabbi James A. Gibson
Oct 01, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 401 401 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Chol Ha-Moed Sukkot 33:12-34:26 The Three Festivals we celebrate are powerful connectors of the Jewish people across time and space. Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot each provide essential connec...
Ha’azinu ode on a biblical urn
by Rabbi David C. Novitsky
Sep 24, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 404 404 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Ha’azinu Deuteronomy 32:1 - 32:52 This week’s Torah portion of Ha’azinu contains a poetic narrative, and then in its conclusion it describes the last days of Moses’ life as he stood on Moun...
The gift of our words
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Sep 16, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 401 401 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 “Turn, O Israel, toward the Eternal, your God, that you may confess to your transgressions. Take with you words and turn to God saying, sweep away in forgiv...
With help, support and inspiration
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Sep 09, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 417 417 recommendations | email to a friend
What are the prerequisites to convert to Judaism? If you could choose, what would they be? While some of our denominations have a very clear answer, others are more flexible. As a Reform rabbi, I h...
Choosing a path
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Sep 02, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 420 420 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 A person is led on the path that he (or she) truly wants to travel on. (Talmud Makkot 10b) If a person comes to purify him (or her) self, he (or she) will be ...
Cultivating compassion
by Rabbi Bryna Milkow
Aug 27, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 403 403 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 Among the 72 mitzvot that are delineated in the parasha of Ki Tetzei, there is one that some consider to be an “easy” mitzvah. In Deuteronomy 22:6-7 we learn, “If...
Righteousness, justice
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Aug 19, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 415 415 recommendations | email to a friend
Parashat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9, Isaiah 51:12-52:12 This year, I was fortunate to spend my eighth summer at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem studying with about 170 colleagues fro...
For the children
by Rabbi Joe Hample
Aug 12, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 401 401 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Re’eh, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 We’re at the start of another year: or are we?  The civil year doesn’t begin till January.  But the Jewish year begins in just about a month, and the public s...
The spiritual dimension
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry
Aug 05, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 411 411 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Ekev, Deuteronomy 11:22-11:25 This week’s portion (Ekev) contains one of the most famous phrases in the book of Deuteronomy, although many people might be surprised to find that its origin ...
The joy of comfort
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman
Jul 30, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 413 413 recommendations | email to a friend
Recently, I saw the new Pixar movie “Inside Out,” an animated film for children with a lesson for adults.  Most of the film takes place inside the brain of Riley, an 11-year-old girl who is moving ...