Author Archive

Matot – A Place of Refuge

July 11, 2018
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Matot – A Place of Refuge

This week’s Torah portion contains a theme that in the ancient world was peculiar to the religion of Israel – the compassion, care and grace of their patron God. A historically popular approach to theology is a bifurcation of the two Testimonies of Scripture.  According to this approach, the older testament is presented as a...
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Korach – You Say You Want a Revolution

June 12, 2018
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Korach – You Say You Want a Revolution

Do you ever have a really bad day, when it seems like everyone and everything is working against you? Moses sure did.  In fact it must have seemed to him like he had fourteen thousand and six hundred days like that and most of them are recorded in the book of Bamidbar.  This week’s...
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Shelach Lecha – Monsters, Giants and Other Formidable Obstacles

June 4, 2018
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Shelach Lecha – Monsters, Giants and Other Formidable Obstacles

 In the spring of 2002 I went to an art exhibit that was featuring a grouping of pictures painted by a good friend who was beginning the process of leaving the safety of a career as a commercial artist and pursuing an art form that was uniquely his own.  The collection was entitled quite...
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B’halot’kha – Salvation On Trial

May 29, 2018
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B’halot’kha – Salvation On Trial

This week parsha will introduce a theme that will characterize much of the remaining narrative of Bamidbar. Chapters 11-25 contain a series of refusals on the part of Israel to accept authority. In chapter 12 even Miriam challenges Moses’ authority. In chapter 11 the people grumble about the unpleasantness of their journey contrasting it...
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Haftarah Nasso – Leaders We Deserve

May 24, 2018
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Haftarah Nasso – Leaders We Deserve

I certainly do not want to retell the story of Samson in detail. You know it. You’ve heard it before. You may have even seen or heard any number of dramatizations. Of course, there is the famous 1949 Cecille B. Demille film starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr (that’s Hedy not Headly!). This version...
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Nasso – Bless is More

May 22, 2018
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Nasso – Bless is More

Listen to an audio version… This week’s parasha contains one of only two prescribed blessings in all of Torah, the Birkat Kohanim. This blessing is so familiar to us, it is part of the morning shacharit, and is traditionally chanted by the Kohanim on Yom Kippur. Parents also say it over children on Erev...
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Shavuos all Over Again

May 17, 2018
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Shavuos all Over Again

Yankee Hall of Famer Yogi Berra was renown for his unique and often comical manner of turning a phrase. One phrase that has become part of the American lexical tradition is “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” Déjà vu of course is that sensation we sometimes get that we’ve been here before –...
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Bamidbar – Wildfire, Water and the Wilderness

May 14, 2018
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Bamidbar – Wildfire, Water and the Wilderness

Listen to an audio version This week we embarked upon our annual reading of Bamidbar.  The fourth book of the Torah is so named since it begins “Vay’daber Adonai el-Mosheh b’midbar Sinai (And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai).” Midrash Rabbah Bamidbar both asks and answers, “Why does Hashem gift...
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Cleaning Our Homes and Hearts

March 22, 2018
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Cleaning Our Homes and Hearts

This Shabbat is Shabbat HaGadol or the Sabbath of “the Great One”. The Great One is Elijah the prophet, the one who according to tradition will herald the coming of the Messiah. So on this last Shabbat prior to Pesach we are alerted to prepare ourselves and our homes for this extraordinary event.  So...
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Tzav – Ear, Thumbs and Toes

March 17, 2018
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Tzav – Ear, Thumbs and Toes

The book of Vayikra is often referred to as the Torat Kohanim, The  Teachings of the Priests. It contains the exact prescriptions for the kohanim to minister in the Mishkan and later in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.  Its topics refer to the sacrifices, the Temple rituals and the laws of purity. Israel, though,...
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