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torah commentary
You changed my sackcloth into robes of joy
For more than half my lifetime I have done my best to help victims of violent crimes in their struggle to recover. I have counseled rape, murder, terrorist and abuse victims spiritually, emotionall...
Apr 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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New moon, new months
Tazria Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The first Passover Seder is nearly upon us. How do we know? No need to look at the calendar; go outside and look at the moon. As our ancestors did, we too can look at the...
Mar 27, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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That last bite of matzah has a special message
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The countdown to Passover is on. With that in mind, what will we do this year to make Passover less about food — especially decadent chocolate cakes preceded by a multi...
Mar 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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The Purim paradox: Now more than ever
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...
Mar 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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Little alephs need our help
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...
Mar 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Holy housewarming can strengthen community
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...
Feb 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
The imperfect ideal
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Oct 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 There is a certain wisdom to the way Torah presents our people’s heroes. Rather than the idealized figures found in many other religious traditions, the characters ...
Healing has its spiritual side
by Rabbi Donni C. Aaron, Jewish Community Center
Oct 16, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 I always teach my students that there is a Jewish prayer for everything in the world.  Inevitably, I have a child who likes to challenge me and asks me in a silly way, “I...
The souls they made
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman, Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Oct 09, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 What happens between the 11th and 12th chapters of Genesis? We read at the end of chapter 11 that Terach moves with his family, including Avram and Sarai, from Ur to ...
The pot and the potter
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, New Light Congregation
Oct 03, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 When I attended Rodef Shalom as a child, I remember sitting in the balcony and gazing at the vaulted ceilings and the people in the pews below while listening to basso stir...
When worlds collide
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs, UPMC Shadyside
Sep 26, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6:8 Many people today think that disagreements between the Torah and science are recent, having arisen since the modern emergence of scientific theory. This is actually not tr...
Sukkot: A time of happiness and gratitude
by Rabbi Eli Seidman, Jewish Association on Aging
Sep 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend
Sukkot One of the many names for the holiday of Sukkot (aka Booths) is zeman simchateinu (the time of our happiness).  Why, of all of the holidays, does Sukkot have the distinction of being called ...
Now is the opportunity for wholeness
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Sep 11, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
Yom Kippur “Forgiveness is a funny thing.  It warms the heart and cools the sting.” These words by William A. Ward, suggest that forgiveness brings comfort, similar to a cup of hot chocolate on a c...
Time of reflection is at hand
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Aug 28, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
Nitzavim-Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 Nelson Mandela has been in the news recently with reports about his failing health. The anti-apartheid activist who became South Africa’s first democratica...
A new twist to blotting out Amalek
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons, Temple David, Monroeville
Aug 15, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tetze, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 You wouldn’t know it from the start, but Ki Tetze is one of those special portions. We arrive at it once as part of the Torah reading cycle and we roll to it once ...
Strong roots lead to a sound future
by Cantor Richard M. Berlin, Parkway Jewish Center
Aug 08, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
Shoftim , Deuteronomy 16:18-21:19 Within Parshat Shoftim (Judges), it says: When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees...