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Tag: Dvar Torah

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  • Where Ever You Go There You Are! - Dvar Torah Parashat Mattot-Masei

    By Rabbi John Rosove

    July 4, 2013 | 12:56 pm

    Twenty years ago the physician and Zen Master, Jon Kabat-Zinn, wrote a book he called “Where Ever You Go There You Are.” The book’s title has stayed with me and it has helped me to focus not only on why I do what I do, but also on why others might behave as they do.

    We are who we...

  • Lies, lies, lies

    June 6, 2013 | 5:47 pm

    My daughter, a soon-to-graduate high school senior, was chosen by a teacher to participate in an event to teach the school a lesson about drunk driving. Before school one day, organizers would set up a scene with a crashed car and police tape. My daughter and the other chosen...

  • Healing the broken – Parashat Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    April 10, 2013 | 1:57 pm

    Most people try really hard to avoid having their bar or bat mitzvah on the Shabbat when we read Tazria-Metzora. I know this not only because I am a rabbi, but because this was my bat mitzvah portion. 

    Tazria is about purity and impurity, including the impurity that comes with...

  • Willing to sacrifice

    By Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

    March 21, 2013 | 4:49 am

    The mind of the midrashist drifts effortlessly over the face of the Tanakh as verses from the Torah conjure up similar verses and phrases from other sacred books. Thus, our parasha’s descriptions of the thanksgiving offerings and the free-will offerings call to mind a phrase found...

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  • A divine call to action

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    March 14, 2013 | 4:39 am

    Once, on a mission to Israel, we needed a minyan for a prayer service during the airplane flight. We were a total of six men in our group, so we began to scan the plane for the remaining four for the requisite 10 men.

    As I went up and down the aisles, one fellow turned to me and...

  • Building Our Mishkan

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    March 7, 2013 | 4:14 am

    The ancient sages teach us that the Torah is exceedingly careful with language. No phrase is superfluous. Each word or letter is part of the intricate unfolding mysteries concentrated in the Torah.

    In Parshat Terumah, a few chapters ago, we read about the entire construction of...

  • God’s road rage

    February 27, 2013 | 1:54 pm

    What’s up with God? 

    One minute God’s up on Mount Sinai giving us laws and teachings to transform our people and the world, and the next, the Holy One is contemplating — no, planning, actually — to destroy the whole Israelite people and begin again with Moses as the progenitor...

  • Wearing your true self

    February 20, 2013 | 3:09 pm

    “Do not judge by the flask, but rather by what it contains” (Pirkei Avot 4:20).

    We are taught from a young age not to “judge a book by its cover” and we raise our children to look deeper than just at the clothes someone is wearing. Yet in this week’s portion we find a good deal...

  • “Ayeka? Where are You?” -  A D’var Torah for Parashat Shoftim

    By Rabbi John Rosove

    August 24, 2012 | 7:33 am

    This story is told by Howard Schwartz who based it on the tale by Zevulon Qort from Ben Zion Asherov of Afghanistan (I have edited his original telling):

    “There was once a Jew who went out into the world to fulfill the Biblical commandment – Tzedek tzedek tirdof [Deut. 26:20]...

  • When your brother will be low

    By Rabbi Lisa Edwards

    May 15, 2012 | 9:04 pm

    He flopped down on the couch in my study, looking pale, upset.

    “What is it?” I asked, imagining a bad diagnosis.

    “I had to lay off one of my workers today,” he said, fighting tears. “The poor guy says he only has two mortgage payments in his savings account.”

    “Any...

  • Lessons My Grandfather Taught Me

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    April 11, 2012 | 11:18 am

    Every Passover, as I sit with my family at our seder, I inevitably think of my paternal grandfather, after whom I was named. I never met him. He died five years before I was born, and I was born on the anniversary of his burial. But from earliest childhood, I felt that my grandfather...

  • Make the Old New Again

    March 21, 2012 | 1:50 pm

    At the ripe age of 8, I learned the Peter Allen song “Everything Old Is New Again.” It may have been an unusual choice for an 8-year-old to crave hearing over and over. But for me, this song was synonymous with dance class, doing the soft shoe that landed me on stage for the...

  • Holy Sanctuaries or Golden Calves

    February 23, 2012 | 9:48 am

    As human beings, can we know precisely what God wants from us? It might seem, from the beginning of this week’s parasha, that we can: “Bring Me gifts. You shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart is willing. And these are the gifts you shall accept from them”...

  • Déjà Vu, all over again

    January 11, 2012 | 6:55 pm

    It’s a new year and we are beginning a new book of the Torah — Exodus. Unfortunately, we are dealing with the same old problem. Anti-Semitism, the oldest hatred, rears its ugly head.

    Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler, scapegoats the Jews and turns them into the enemy, a pattern that...

  • Unloading the emotional U-Haul

    By Rabbi Lisa Edwards

    January 4, 2012 | 1:02 pm

    A funeral director once said, “In all the funerals I’ve attended, I have yet to see a hearse with a U-Haul trailer attached.” But while it’s true that “you can’t take it with you,”meaning material possessions, I’m not so sure about emotional possessions. How many of...

  • Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    November 1, 2011 | 8:29 pm

    Last week’s Torah portion ends with a genealogy, a long list of names of who begot whom and how long they lived. It is one of many genealogies in the Torah. It used to be that when I encountered those lists, I tuned out; I found them boring. But then I read a book by Thomas Cahill...

  • Unique Capabilities: Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    October 26, 2011 | 5:39 pm

    There are places in the Torah where many of us moderns have a hard time relating to our ancestors and the societies in which they lived. Oppression of women, slavery, animal sacrifice, a God that intervenes and directs our lives in a forceful and immediate way, to name a few. This...

  • Back to School

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    August 31, 2011 | 10:48 am

    With a new school year upon us, I found the following story, “What Teachers Make,” revealing.

    “The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to discuss the current problems with education. He argued, ‘What’s a kid going to learn...

  • From Pain to Peace

    By Rabbi Anne Brener

    August 17, 2011 | 10:33 am

    “Remember the long way that YHVH your God made you travel in the wilderness these past 40 years, that he might test you, by hardships, to learn what is in your hearts: whether you would keep his commandments or not” (Deuteronomy 8:2).

    My daughter just returned from Vietnam. When...

  • Listening More Than We Speak

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    August 10, 2011 | 10:32 am

    Having just come off Tisha B’Av, not only do we focus on the parasha, Va’etchanan, but this is also Shabbat Nachamu, the healing Shabbat of Comfort, so named because we read the words of Isaiah, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1).

    Having spent the...

  • Courage to Lead: Parashat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)

    By Rabbi Dov Fischer

    July 12, 2011 | 6:27 pm

    We ended last week’s parasha with the Jewish nation crying as quasi-leaders sinned publicly with Midianite women, who had come into our camp at the Moabites’ behest.

    We would have no rest from these Midianites, nor from their Moabite agitators. God ultimately would warn us to...

  • Real Spirituality: Parashat Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    June 28, 2011 | 3:48 pm

    Spirituality, kabbalah and meditation are buzzwords in today’s religious lexicon. But do they really describe religion?

    A number of years ago, my mother, who lives in Cleveland, received a call from the major local paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The paper was doing a feature...

  • Korach: The Spiritual Narcissist

    By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

    June 24, 2011 | 10:37 am

    This week’s Torah reading deals with the rebellion of Korach, a cousin of Moses, who contends that he is just as deserving of leadership as the great lawgiver. Korach claims that Moses has usurped power for reasons of self-aggrandizement. Moses, whom the Bible declares to be the...

  • Engraved Ideas

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    May 17, 2011 | 5:55 pm

    In 2008, the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed written by Marisol Leon, a young woman who graduated from Yale in 2007 and returned to teach in the same public middle school she had attended:

    “‘Think Ivy League,’ pleaded Mrs.  Anderson, my English teacher. ‘Ivy League? What is...

  • Blasphemers No More

    May 3, 2011 | 6:28 pm

    My sister just touched down in Israel. I can feel her elation way over here in California. Time stood still; there was silence. The land and the woman were one. She had returned home.

    My sister made aliyah 22 years ago, with her then-husband and 1-year-old daughter. After building...

  • Ears, Toes and Thumbs

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    April 5, 2011 | 6:09 pm

    Author Hillel Halkin, reviewing the Koren Sacks Siddur in the spring 2010 Jewish Review of Books, recounts a charming story that he heard from his father:

    “My father, who prayed with great kavanah [concentration] yet was adamant about having no religious beliefs whatsoever …...

  • Refining Our Souls

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    March 22, 2011 | 6:18 pm

    The aphorism “you are what you eat” first appeared in French and then in German in the 1800s, and was then brought into English in the 1920s by nutritionist Victor Lindlahr, the inventor of the “catabolic diet.” Hippie foodies later adopted the phrase in the 1960s.

    But the...

  • Recognizing a Community

    By Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin

    March 1, 2011 | 6:00 pm

    When looking for biblical themes on the importance of community, one needs look no further than those portions at the end of Exodus that deal with the construction of the mishkan (Tabernacle). This special structure represents the collective spiritual power of the Jewish people,...

  • Egypt: Tabernacle or Golden Calf?

    By Rabbi Isaac Jeret

    February 22, 2011 | 6:19 pm

    As Jews, our character and faith are defined essentially by the story of our ancient liberation from slavery in Egypt, informing our concern for the welfare of those who are similarly oppressed. But as a minority often vulnerable to the whims of tyrannical victors, we are also keenly...

  • Offering Appreciation

    February 8, 2011 | 3:36 pm

    It is written that Rabbi Simeon asked Elijah: “What does the Holy One, blessed be God, study in the firmament?” Elijah said to him: “God studies the sacrificial offerings.”

    The bulk of our Torah portion, Tetzaveh, is devoted to rituals concerning sacrifice. A vast amount of the 613...

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