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Tag: Parasha

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  • Kindness connection: Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

    By Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

    October 23, 2013 | 4:54 pm

    Did Avraham attend Yitzchak’s wedding? Well, in the closest thing we have to a wedding description — right at the end of this parasha — Avraham is nowhere to be found. The servant who made the match is there, and the spirit of Sarah is there as she looms large in her son’s memory,...

  • Guess how much I love you

    July 17, 2013 | 1:54 pm

    There is a well-known children’s book depicting a nut-brown hare and its child playing a game called “Guess How Much I Love You.” In it, the child stretches tall and wide, jumps high and reaches toward the horizon to show his affection for the parent. In response, the parent always...

  • ‘God is a fraud’

    May 22, 2013 | 3:59 pm

    In this week’s parasha, Beha’alotecha, Moses faces the fragility of life as he watches his sister, Miriam, struggle with tzara’at, a dangerous skin disease. Overcome with anguish, Moses cries out to God. His five-word prayer, the shortest recorded in the Torah, beseeches the Holy...

  • 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...

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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...

  • Pagan inspiration

    August 15, 2012 | 1:31 pm

    “Beware of being lured into their ways ... Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did those nations worship their gods? I too will follow the same practices!’” (Deuteronomy 12:30).

    I am struck by this verse from our parasha, because I have benefited greatly from other...

  • 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...

  • Ultimate Truths

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    March 8, 2012 | 11:22 am

    Do you consider yourself an idolater? I ask the question in a serious manner, for one of the main aversions, according to the Torah, is the path of idolatry, a path we witness in our parasha this week, Ki Tisa, with the Golden Calf. Yet, in today’s modern world, what does it mean...

  • 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”...

  • Hillel’s voice is back, and she sounds great!

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    February 3, 2012 | 6:08 pm

    This week I write to you from Jerusalem, inspired by the headline story from this past Tuesday ‘s Ha’aretz. On the first morning of my trip, here is the headline I woke up to: “New Orthodox Rabbinical Group Puts Israeli Women at Its Head – Hopes to Counter Creeping Religious...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Revisionist History: Parashat Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

    August 2, 2011 | 5:37 pm

    My grandmother loved to tell family stories in which key details were changed. Sometimes she swapped out one time period or location for another. Sometimes key characters were replaced or motivations recast. More than slips of memory, these alterations were her way of putting the...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • The power of speech

    By Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

    July 9, 2008 | 10:38 pm

    The Torah records that the human being was the final item created by God. But the Mishna (Avot 5:8) proposes that a variety of mysterious things were actually created just a little bit later.

    As the sixth day was ending, but not quite over, and as Shabbat was arriving, but had not...

  • Familial Forgiveness

    By Rabbi Susan Laemmle

    January 4, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    The syllabus for my USC general education class includes both Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and chapters 37-50 of Genesis -- the Joseph story or "novella." These two narratives share themes that commend themselves: forgiveness and reconciliation. Both Prospero and Joseph were set upon...

  • Torah Portion

    By Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

    February 19, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Deeply ingrained ideas die hard. This week'sparasha,however, helps to ring the death knell for one such idea. Many of ushave been trained to believe that the Torah's commandments can bebroken down into two basic categories. These re: the mitzvot we do for God and themitzvot we do for...