Torah Commentaries

Lech Lecha – The Syntax of Silence

October 17, 2018
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Lech Lecha – The Syntax of Silence

These are anxious times. Many people are facing significant changes in their lives and the long-standing institutions that help inform their lives and lend them a sense of security. People often feel insecure regarding their safety, their finances and the social structures they have come to depend on.  Divisive politics have divided neighborhoods, communities...
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Noach – Dominion after the Deluge

October 8, 2018
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Noach – Dominion after the Deluge

Listen to an audio version B’reishit offers us unique insights concerning humankind’s responsibility to be both sovereign and servants over creation, and the lessons that we might learn about compassion from our furry friends who are the “other white meat” on this planet. Some might be surprised to learn that this week’s parasha Noach...
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B’reishit – Facing Our Other Side, East of Eden

October 1, 2018
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B’reishit – Facing Our Other Side, East of Eden

As we begin to explore this story of humankind outside the Garden of Eden, we like Cain should be uncomfortable with our first encounter being fratricide.  Yet if we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we walk away with less emotional investment into this narrative, than we put into the average...
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Sukkot – Finding Shelter in a Transient World

September 25, 2018
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Sukkot – Finding Shelter in a Transient World

Sukkot remembers that freedom came as the result of pitching tents over 14,600 days and honors the 43,000 meals prepared in the dessert. But more importantly Sukkot reminds us that God is everywhere and undermines the idolatry of rootedness. This doesn’t mean that home and hearth are bad values; rather it serves as a...
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Nitsavim – Choose Life

September 5, 2018
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Nitsavim – Choose Life

Listen to an audio version God is dead! Or so some would say, such as Richard Rubinstein the esteemed former professor of religion at University of Florida and Bridgeport University. As a leading cultural analyst, and a most prominent “Death of God” theologians this is Rubinstein’s response to the horrific atrocities of humankind against...
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Ki Tavo – Do Not Neglect Nor Transgress

August 28, 2018
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Ki Tavo – Do Not Neglect Nor Transgress

Listen to an audio version …lo avarti mi’mitzvoteycha v’lo sha’chachti “I have neither transgressed nor neglected any of your commandments” (Devarim 26:13). This is the pledge that God commanded the children of Israel to declare every third year after removing their tithe from their premises and having given it to the Levites and the...
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Ki Tetse – Making Sense of the “Texts of Terror”

August 21, 2018
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Ki Tetse – Making Sense of the “Texts of Terror”

If we are to be perfectly honest, much of the law codes reorganized and restated in the book of Devarim seem oddly archaic, highly impractical, and at times, even disturbingly unethical! This week’s parashah, Ki Teitse is chocked full of very specific ordinances and stipulations and therefore present many of these apparent difficulties. The...
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VaEtchanan – How Do You Spell Relief?

July 24, 2018
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VaEtchanan – How Do You Spell Relief?

Do you like to make choices? Whether you do or not, it seems as though for each of us there is a never-ending stream of options that place demands upon our time and threaten the normal and easy flow of our lives. With the blessings of the information age, come even more options, more...
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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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Pinchas – Zeal Appeal Or The Real Deal

July 4, 2018
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Pinchas – Zeal Appeal Or The Real Deal

Listen to an audio version There are always two unseen guests at every bris, neither has been specifically invited, yet the spirit of each is evoked. Of course Elijah is the first unseen guest as he often is at Jewish celebrations and commemorations. Elijah represents more than Israel’s glorious past, but in addition he...
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