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Tag: Torah Portion

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  • Torah portion: Purity for every person

    1 week ago

    For several weeks, we’ve plodded through unsettling descriptions of genital discharges, fungi-infested homes, postpartum impurity, skin discolorations, corpse contaminations and all manner of priestly diagnoses and prognoses. These sections of Leviticus are as foreign to modern...

  • Healing bodies and souls: Parashat Metzora (Leviticus 14:1-15:33)

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    2 weeks ago

    On the margins is where some of the most profound holy acts are performed. Standing with those who are in the shadows, on the margins of society, those who have been abandoned, those in our communities who frighten us, who push us to see our own vulnerability, human beings we...

  • Torah portion: He is pure, she is pure

    3 weeks ago

    Many people think the description in this week’s parasha, Tazria, of how the High Priest should treat lepers — by evicting them from the camp of Israel with a ritual, and accepting them back with another once they’ve healed — is so archaic as to make studying it absurd. The ancient...

  • Torah portion: Becoming a distinguished people

    March 19, 2014 | 2:08 pm

    “You shall be holy, for I am holy”

    — Leviticus 11:45

    I always find that Parashat Shemini inspires young people to ask questions. “Why did Aaron’s sons have to die?” “Why can’t I have a drink and get a little tipsy if it will help me enjoy services more?” And, of course, the...

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  • Our beastly selves: Parashat Vayikra

    March 5, 2014 | 11:05 am

    What is a dedicated vegetarian, who is also a believing, contemporary Jew, to make of the book of Leviticus, specifically this week’s Torah portion, Vayikra? From the very beginning of the portion, we are confronted with animal sacrifice, with grisly descriptions of blood and torn...

  • Torah portion: Bridging Judaism’s generation gap

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    February 26, 2014 | 2:43 pm

    How do we preserve tradition while simultaneously introducing new ideas? Can worldviews from the past coexist with those of the new generation? From Shabbat tables and Passover seders to public forums and debates, we find an ever-widening generation gap in the Jewish world on...

  • Torah portion: On heroes and procrastinators

    February 20, 2014 | 2:47 pm

    We have devoted the past few weeks to reading God’s instructions to the nation of Israel for building the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the portable Holy Temple that will travel through the Sinai Desert with the Israelits and follow them into the Promised Land for centuries to come. By...

  • The covenant of the calf: Parashat Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35)

    February 12, 2014 | 5:01 pm

    If the word of God, engraved in stone, can crumble as easily as bread; if God’s voice, chiseled in rock, can shatter like a pitched dinner plate; if the children of Israel can cast off their heavenly covenant with a casualness not unlike the unclasping of an earring or a necklace;...

  • Standing naked: Parashat Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

    February 5, 2014 | 11:54 am

    You step out of the shower, towel off and stand before the mirror. It’s just you and your reflection … the naked truth. Your eye appraises without mercy. Under the bright lights, no imperfection can be concealed; no blemish disguised. Or …

    It’s the morning after. Lights once...

  • Parashat Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    January 31, 2014 | 12:01 pm

    A few weeks ago, I spent four beautiful days on a meditation retreat with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) at the American Jewish University’s Brandeis-Bardin Campus. Spending time in silence, mindful yoga, walking and eating, as well as deep Torah learning with leading...

  • Divine partnership: Parashat Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)

    January 3, 2014 | 2:27 pm

    “Come to Pharaoh … that you may know I am HaShem” (Exodus 10:1-10:2). 

    The story in this week’s portion is as recognizable as any in the entire Torah. Discussed at the Passover seder, it begins with Moses and the eighth plague of locusts, continues through the plague of darkness...

  • Becoming a parent: Parashat Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)

    November 26, 2013 | 4:07 pm

    Joseph, the once-favored child of Jacob, rises up from slave and prisoner to become Pharaoh’s right hand. He assumes responsibility for a far-reaching 14-year business plan to ensure that after seven years of plenty, Egypt would be prepared to endure the seven years of famine. Once...

  • Blind Spot: Parashat Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1-40:23)

    November 20, 2013 | 4:16 pm

    “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the entire earth is filled with his glory” (Isaiah 6:30). 

    If Isaiah is correct, with every step we take, with every breath we draw, we cannot help but encounter God’s glory. And yet who among us is constantly aware of this fact, this daily...

  • Surrender as prayer: Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

    November 14, 2013 | 5:44 pm

    What do you do when your back is to the wall? When tensions are so high, annihilation seems imminent?

    Jacob has an answer that touches my soul. He doesn’t fight, run or resist. Instead, he surrenders completely, and that which he feared washes over him like a wave. 

    Twenty...

  • Shabbat Shalom to the Angels Among Us

    Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman

    November 8, 2013 | 8:27 am

    This Shabbat, Jews all over the world will read the Torah portion Vayetze. It's a great portion - they all are, of course, but this one really is especially rich. We meet Leah and Rachel, and watch as their father's trickery ensures Jacob will marry both. We celebrate the births of...

  • No victory over the vulnerable: Parashat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3)

    November 6, 2013 | 3:04 pm

    “And Leah’s eyes were tender, but Rachel was fair in form and fair to look at, and Jacob loved Rachel” (Genesis 29:17).

    There was something about Leah’s eyes. Some commentators thought them possessed of an elegant beauty, others a misty attractiveness, or most peculiarly, that...

  • 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,...

  • The long and winding road: Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1–17:27)

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    October 9, 2013 | 3:24 pm

    The day God pronounced two simple words — lech lecha — Abraham and Sarah’s lives changed forever. God instructs Abraham to leave his homeland, his birthplace and his father’s home, “to the land that I will show you, and there I will make of you a great nation” (Genesis 12:1-2)....

  • In the family way: Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

    By Rabbi Lisa Edwards

    October 3, 2013 | 4:59 pm

    Word went out from the congregation that a longtime member was nearing the end of her life. She has no partner and no children, but, on the day after Yom Kippur, 17 friends from the congregation came to visit her, including current and former clergy, and grown children she used to...

  • Feast or Famine: Sukkot

    September 18, 2013 | 12:30 pm

    According to the rabbis, the holiday of Sukkot commemorates the 40 years of wandering in the Sinai Desert, and we eat and sleep in a sukkah — that temporary structure made with a roof of dried vegetation, such as palm fronds — because the Israelites slept in sukkot (the plural of...

  • 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...

  • Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Matot-Massei with Rabbi Uri Regev

    By Shmuel Rosner

    July 5, 2013 | 6:45 am

    Our special guest today is Rabbi Uri Regev, President and CEO of Hiddush, a trans-denominational nonprofit organization which is aimed at promoting religious freedom and equality in Israel. Prior to his work at Hiddush, Rabbi Regev served for seven years as President of the World...

  • Station to station: Parashat Matot-Masei (Numbers 30:2-36:13)

    July 2, 2013 | 12:06 pm

    We conclude the reading of Bamidbar (Numbers) this week. Over the course of the book, the children of Israel spend approximately 40 years in the desert, camping in 42 different places, each of which is mentioned in Masei, the second of this week’s two parshiyot. Somewhat...

  • Finding Light Amidst Darkness - D’var Torah Pinchas

    By Rabbi John Rosove

    June 28, 2013 | 6:29 am

    How to read the story of Pinchas, a shatteringly brutal tale of love and violence? That is the question in this week’s Torah portion, especially for the modern Jew?

    The story begins this way:

    “Now YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Pinchas, son of Elazar son of Aaron the priest, has...

  • Pinchas and the Harlotry of the “Peace Process”

    By Orit Arfa

    June 28, 2013 | 3:16 am

    The fantastic story of Pinchas takes place in the book of Bamidbar, on the heels of the Moabite King Balak’s attempt to eradicate the budding Israelite nation by hiring the gentile prophet Bila’am to curse Israel to destruction. God foils Bila’ams plan, and Bila’am finally...

  • Sinai and American Efforts for Peace - D’var Torah Hukat

    By Rabbi John Rosove

    June 14, 2013 | 9:22 am

    In this week’s Torah portion Hukat, Miriam dies and the people complain bitterly that there’s no water (Numbers 20:3-5). God tells him to take his rod and order the rock to produce water. But Moses, old and weary, instead of ordering the rock, strikes it with his rod. Though the...

  • The Inner Korach - Then and Now

    By Rabbi John Rosove

    June 7, 2013 | 9:35 am

    The Wall Street Journal/NBC News published a poll this week reporting on the public’s approval rating of President Obama with special focus on his administration’s honesty and integrity in light of the Benghazi investigation, the IRS scandal and Drone attacks. The President...

  • Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Korach with Rabbi Susan Silverman

    By Shmuel Rosner

    June 7, 2013 | 6:28 am

    Our special guest today is Rabbi Susan Silverman, an active member of 'Women of the Wall'. Born and raised in New Hampshire, Rabbi Silverman was ordained by the HUC-JIR in 1994 and, after serving as a congregation Rabbi in Maryland, she made Aliyah with her family in 2006....

  • 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...

  • A failure of imagination: Parashat Shelach Lecha (Numbers 13:1-15:41)

    May 29, 2013 | 4:44 pm

    The imagination is a stretch of highway that bends through the universe. Its lanes unmarked, its exits limitless, yet it is, nevertheless, the shortest road to anywhere. Many years have passed since I last visited the Land of Israel. Yet if I set my mind to it, I can walk its...

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