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Tag: Torah Portion

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  • Torah portion: Lean in

    By Rabbi Lisa Edwards

    2 days ago

    It’s been a rough few months worldwide. In addition to the violence and the threats, the tenuous cease-fires and seemingly insolvable problems, many people also find all this difficult to talk about. 

    I’m hearing from colleagues and congregants, friends and family — sad and...

  • Torah portion: Challenging God

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    1 week ago

    Does the classic Jewish tradition allow room for challenging God? Our prayers constantly praise and bless God, but are there any sections of our liturgy that formally level an open challenge to God? 

    In one of Judaism’s earliest prayers — the “tithe declaration” — we find an...

  • Torah portion: Do not look away

    2 weeks ago

    On Aug. 24, one of Hollywood’s most visible young entertainers loaned her spotlight to someone we don’t usually see onstage: a homeless man.

    When Miley Cyrus introduced the world to Jesse Helt, it was so he could accept her MTV Video Music Award on behalf of homeless teenagers....

  • Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Re’eh with Rabbi Efrem Goldberg

    By Shmuel Rosner

    August 22, 2014 | 3:18 am

    Our guest this week is Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, the senior rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue in Florida. Rabbi Goldberg serves as Co-Chair of the Orthodox Rabbinical Board's Va'ad Ha'Kashrus, as Director of the Rabbinical Council of America's South Florida Regional Beis Din for...

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  • Torah portion: Wake up!

    August 20, 2014 | 10:17 am

    Guard and listen to all these words that I command you, in order that it be well with you and your children after you forever (Deuteronomy 12:28).

    This week’s portion, Re’eh, contains a break in Moses’ speeches about Jewish history and destiny. Here he reminds our people of the...

  • Torah portion: Remembering the journey

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    August 13, 2014 | 10:47 am

    Many in the latest generation of women rabbis don’t think of themselves as feminists. For them, being a rabbi is a birthright; they grew up with women rabbis. They have little sense of what it took to get to this point. For those of us in the first generation, that is a bit...

  • Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Va’etchanan with Rabbi Terry Bookman

    By Shmuel Rosner

    August 8, 2014 | 9:02 am

    Our guest this week is Rabbi Terry Bookman of the Temple Beth Am congregation in Pincrest, FL. Rabbi Bookman was ordained rabbi by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 1984. He holds a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters (H.U.C.), a Master of Arts in...

  • Torah portion: Even Nixon

    By Rabbi Dov Fischer

    August 6, 2014 | 10:50 am

    This week’s Torah portion, Va’etchanan, is remarkable for so many reasons. It includes within its four chapters the first paragraph of the Shema (“Hear O Israel”) and the Ten Pronouncements (often mistranslated as the Ten Commandments). It includes one of the Four Questions asked...

  • Torah Portion: Terror and the west

    July 30, 2014 | 10:19 am

    And the Lord God said to the Serpent: Because you did this, cursed be you of all the cattle and all the beasts of the field. On your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life. Enmity will I set between you and the woman, between your seed and hers. He...

  • Torah portion: Must enlightenment hurt?

    July 23, 2014 | 11:08 am

    I visit a hospice patient whom I would call a sage. All the folks from my hospice who visit him marvel at his sweetness, the depth of his spirituality, and his ability to enjoy and engage each of us distinctly.

    His illness has progressed to the point that he is now severely...

  • Torah portion: Light at the end of the tunnel

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    July 16, 2014 | 9:19 am

    The Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde said, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Many would argue that the Bible is the Jewish people’s ultimate artistic masterpiece. If that’s the case, then Jewish history has been one long journey of “life imitating art,” and both...

  • Torah portion: Reframing the Brit Shalom

    By Rabbi Anne Brener

    July 9, 2014 | 9:40 am

    How can I write a d’var Torah when I can’t stop crying? The horrific news from the Middle East — our boys, their boys, the steady progress of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — I can’t bear to put on paper what is in my heart, as I emerge from texts on Parshat Pinchas extolling...

  • Torah portion: Time flies

    By Rabbi Lisa Edwards

    June 25, 2014 | 10:44 am

    I attended a memorial for a beloved colleague recently, and his widow remembered how at funerals he would invite people not to look at the birth and death dates on memorial plaques and grave markers, but to focus on the dash between the dates — that’s the part that matters. 

    This...

  • Torah Portion: Living with clergy killers

    By Rabbi Dov Fischer

    June 18, 2014 | 9:26 am

    Korach is a fascinating Torah portion because, as happens so often when the Torah narrates real-life events, the characters ring incredibly true. We all know superficially good people who have so much going for them, yet who propel themselves down a horrific course of...

  • Baseless discontent

    June 4, 2014 | 10:17 am

    I like to have a derash in my pocket with an addiction/recovery theme when I visit Jewish inmates in the county jail, and I’ve got to tell you, Beha’alotecha is the perfect one to do this. 

    Found in the book of Numbers, this parasha features a memorable scene in which the...

  • A mathematician’s dream blessing

    May 28, 2014 | 11:07 am

    Two, 4, 6, 8 … What comes next? Once you recognize this as a sequence of even numbers, counted by twos, then you know that the numbers 10 and 12 come next.

    Two, 3, 5, 7, 11 … What comes next? This sequence of prime numbers (numbers divisible only by themselves and 1) continues...

  • Who counts?

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    May 21, 2014 | 10:43 am

    For the past five weeks, the entire Jewish community has been counting … counting the days between Passover and Shavuot, the anniversary of the day we received Torah. This linking of Passover and receiving Torah reminds us that our exodus from Egypt wasn’t only about our own...

  • Strength in unity

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    May 14, 2014 | 10:09 am

    Toward the end of his life, Rabbi Ben-Zion Meir Hai Uziel, Israel’s first Sephardic chief rabbi, composed his last will and testament to the Jewish people. In what is now considered a classic spiritual document and taught in schools throughout Israel, the theme of Rabbi Uziel’s...

  • While the world was burning

    By Rabbi Anne Brener

    May 7, 2014 | 10:40 am

    Do you remember Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop Art portrait of an anguished woman, her hand over her face, tears falling from her eyes and a speech balloon above her head saying, “I can’t believe it. I forgot to have children!” The implication was that this woman was so busy ticking off...

  • Counting Omer, Counting Reasons

    By Rav Yosef Kanefsky

    April 30, 2014 | 10:16 am

    Today, May 2, is the 17th day of the Omer. Following the practice set forth in this week’s parasha, we have been counting the day of the Omer since the second day of Passover, and will continue to do so until we reach the 49th day of the Omer, when we will celebrate the festival of...

  • Not everyone, not yet

    By Rabbi Lisa Edwards

    April 23, 2014 | 10:41 am

    "Times have certainly changed,” someone said to me the other day. “We have a new generation of children growing up just with marriage — not gay marriage and straight marriage, but ‘just marriage.’ ”

    Nice pun, I thought, “just marriage.” The oft-quoted Torah verse, “justice,...

  • Torah portion: Purity for every person

    April 9, 2014 | 12:49 pm

    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

    April 2, 2014 | 1:57 pm

    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

    March 26, 2014 | 10:41 am

    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...

  • 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...

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