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Tag: Jacob

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  • Seeing Yourself in Torah

    By Beit T'shuvah

    March 7, 2014 | 1:08 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    With the opening of our new space at 8847 Venice Blvd., I have been thinking about how I got to where I am in life from where I was some 26+ years ago. I was locked up for the 2nd time and all I had was a Prayer Book and a Chumash, a book with the entire...

  • Biblical numbers, mathematics and attributed patriarchal ages

    By Roger Price

    November 13, 2013 | 12:49 pm

         The Hebrew Bible is filled with numbers. There are different kinds of numbers -- cardinals and ordinals, integers and fractions, even primes. And they are everywhere in the Torah text.

         There are numbers for days and numbers for life spans.

         There are numbers for...

  • Power of words

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    December 5, 2012 | 3:53 pm

    In our age of Facebook and Twitter, we know all too well how fast words can spread. When I was a kid, we played the game telephone, passing a word or phrase around the circle by whispering it into each other’s ear, knowing that by the time it went all the way around, it would...

  • Jacob’s stand: Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

    November 28, 2012 | 11:42 am

    Jacob returns to Canaan, where 20 years earlier he fled his brother Esau’s wrath after stealing his birthright. But time does not seem to have healed the wound. Esau comes to greet him with 400 men, an army. Apparently, he will fulfill his 20-year-old intention to kill Jacob.

    ...
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  • Teach your children well

    November 15, 2012 | 2:59 pm

    As I am the father of twin sons, this parasha, where we learn of the birth of twins Jacob and Esau, has a special place in my soul. Esau sells his birthright, and Rivka helps her favored son, Jacob, “trick” Isaac into a blessing. The portion ends with Jacob fleeing from his brother...

  • 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...

  • Be who you are

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    January 8, 2009 | 4:29 pm

    One of my favorite times of each week is when we bless our children during Shabbat dinner.

    Each week, in the liminal moment between kiddush and motzi, between sanctifying the day and thanking God for the food we are about to enjoy, we stop, as many Jewish families do, and offer our...

  • Quality of Life

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    December 31, 2008 | 12:50 am

    It was a very brief meeting, and a seemingly peculiar exchange of words. For the first time, the head of the Israelite household -- Jacob -- meets Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.

    The only thing they shared in common was Joseph.

    To Jacob, Joseph was his son, and to Pharaoh, Joseph was...

  • Listen, will you?

    By Rabbi Haim Ovadia

    December 3, 2008 | 9:29 pm

    You are driving, looking for an address, when your wife tells you to ask someone. You refuse, but you finally make it to your destination -- two hours late. Are you familiar with this scenario?

    When it happened to me, we were going to our first Shabbaton in Pennsylvania, got lost...

  • Gay shul’s blessing for anonymous sex *

    By Brad A. Greenberg

    September 18, 2008 | 1:55 pm

    Oh my. JTA has a shocking feature about a new blessing a gay synagogue in San Francisco has developed for anonymous sex:

    Among the most innovative—and controversial—aspects of the siddur soon to be released by San Francisco’s main gay synagogue is a prayer for “unexpected intimacy.”...

  • Own your problems

    By Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

    November 22, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Jacob's route, as he returns from his uncle's home in the land of Haran to his parent's home in the land of Canaan, does not take him anywhere near the territory of Esau. His brother has already moved his growing tribe to the land of Edom, well to the south of anywhere Jacob would be...
  • Present Perfection

    By Rabbi Karen Deitsch

    November 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    I overslept this morning. I woke up an hour after I was expected to teach. Lost in a barrage of self-punishing thoughts and assumptions of dire consequences, I panicked aimlessly, still wearing my pajamas, thinking of ways to fix it. I was in the darkness of a wakeful nightmare: the...
  • Holy Doubt

    By Rabbi Debra Orenstein

    December 7, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    This week's Torah portion contains a story that most of us skipped in Hebrew school -- the story of Dina.

    Dina goes out to "see the daughters of the land."

    Shechem, the eponymous local prince, sees her, sleeps with her and vaye'aneha -- sexually forces or humiliates her.

    His...

  • There is God in this place

    By Rabbi Judith HaLevy

    November 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Jacob departed. Unlike his grandfather Abraham, who went forth, lech lecha, in response to God's command, Jacob departs, vayetze, from everything he knows to escape his angry brother and find a wife in Haran. He leaves a comfortable, established life to find himself in the chaos and...
  • The Ultimate Enigma

    By Rabbi Steven Weil

    July 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Zot chukat haTorah begins this week's parsha, telling us that the subject of the Red Heifer is the chok of the Torah. A chok is a law that is simply incomprehensible. It makes no sense to us whatsoever.

    When I tell you that a person who had become ritually defiled by close contact...

  • Why Are We Jews?

    By Rabbi Asher Brander

    January 5, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "Biblical stories are in our present -- in the cheder we cried when we learned of the sale of Joseph -- and we rejoiced in his ascendancy to power. There was a freshness, a vigor, a nearness, which we felt in that drama." -- Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik

    Oh to be a fly on the wall of...

  • Who Are You?

    By Rabbi Perry Netter

    December 29, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Even in the best of families, relationships are enormously complicated. Some of the stories rabbis hear, all too frequently, of families in crisis are excruciatingly painful: parents who disown their children because of radical disappointment with the life choices their children have...

  • Out of the Shadows

    By Rabbi Karen Deitsch

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    It is the middle of the night. I hear a strange sound in the living room.

    Heart pounding, I get out of bed, grope awkwardly through darkness for the light switch ... push up ... nothing happens. I try another switch. No light. I feel desperately alone. My surroundings remain one...

  • Yeladim

    By Abby Gilad

    November 18, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Goodbye, Jacob, Goodbye

    Parshat Vayetze opens with Jacob leaving Be'er Sheva. Everyone feels his absence.

    Is there someone who used to live in your neighborhood or went to your school but moved away? How did you feel when they left? Was that person someone who did nice things?

    What...

  • Yeladim

    By Abby Gilad

    November 11, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    In Parshat Toldot, Jacob and Esau are born. Even though they are twins, they are opposites: Jacob is the quiet, studious type, while Esau is a hunter who loves to be out in the world. The world used to think of Jews as being just quiet and studious, but when Israel became a state the...

  • For The Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    December 11, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    The Adventures of Jacob

    Did you know Jacob was an adventurer and a scientist? He figured out that if speckled sheep mate only with other speckled sheep, then their babies will all be speckled. That's how he became a rich man. He told his father-in-law, Laban, that he wanted "only"...

  • Blessed With Talents

    By Abby Gilad

    December 19, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Everybody's good at something. The trick is to discover what it is. In Parshat Vayechi, Jacob blesses each of his 12 sons. They each receive a blessing that is appropriate to their skills. Judah is blessed with leadership, for from him will be born kings. Benjamin is told he is a...

  • Power of a Blessing

    By Rabbi Naomi Levy

    December 19, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    If you were told that you had only a matter of days to live what would you do?

    Write out a will? Eat your favorite meal? Try to repair troubled relationships? In our Torah portion this Shabbat, Jacob knows he is dying. Faced with this knowledge, there is only one thing he wants to...

  • What’s the Beef?

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    November 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    A number of years ago, during the O.J. Simpson trial, I had a conversation with a non-Jewish merchant who told me that right after Simpson was arrested, he met a good friend of Simpson's at church. At the conclusion of the service, the merchant happened to stand right behind this man...

  • What are you? An Innovator, A Developer Or An Adventurer

    By Abby Gilad

    November 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    There are three patriarchs in the Bible: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Which of the above were they? Well, Abraham created a new religion. He was an innovator. Jacob spent his life traveling and encountering adventure after adventure. He brought the God of Israel's religion to all the...

  • Burden of Leadership

    By Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom

    August 8, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    After 22 years of separation, believing his beloved son dead, Jacob was startled to hear that Joseph was not only alive but that he ruled the land of Egypt. Yet, the Torah tells us that this news was not enough: When he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of...

  • Collective Hearing

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    January 11, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Not long ago, on a trip to Israel, I heard the following story about an Israeli doctor and patient. The patient came to the doctor with a case of poor hearing. After a few moments the doctor realized that his patient had a drinking problem, which was affecting his hearing. The...

  • Marital Strife

    By Yosef Kanefsky

    December 7, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Every marriage has painful moments. Even the most loving marriages do. This fact of life is confirmed by the opening of chapter 30.

    There is only one marriage in the entirety of the Bible that is explicitly described as being based on romantic love. This is the marriage of Jacob...

  • Jacob’s Vision

    By Tom Tugend

    September 25, 1997 | 8:00 pm

     

    One of Rabbi David Aaron's favorite biblical analogies derivesfrom the story of Jacob's dream, in which the patriarch saw a ladderstretching from earth to the heavens.

    The narrative can also be interpreted to mean that Jacob himselfwas the ladder, with his feet on the ground and his...

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