Torah Commentaries

Ki Tavo – Do Not Neglect Nor Transgress

September 21, 2016
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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”

September 15, 2016
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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?

August 16, 2016
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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

August 4, 2016
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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 28, 2016
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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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Nasso – Bless is More

June 15, 2016
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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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Kedoshim – A Good Name

May 12, 2016
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Kedoshim – A Good Name

Listen to an audio version I have spent a significant amount of time over the past two decades teaching in various and sundry churches concerning the importance and efficacy of the people of Israel. It has always been my intention to articulate the ongoing relationship between the God of Israel and the People of...
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Acharei Mot – Real Food for Real Men

May 5, 2016
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Acharei Mot – Real Food for Real Men

Listen to an audio version Recently I was in a Barnes and Noble and was surprised to discover that while the Judaism and the Spirituality sections seemed to be shrinking, the largest book section by far was the one dedicated to Paranormal Romance novels. Spawned by the phenomenal success of the Twilight series, teen...
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Shabbat Parah – Get Ready For Change

April 1, 2016
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Shabbat Parah – Get Ready For Change

I have always thought that cheshbon hanefesh, literally a reckoning with one’s own soul was a practice most appropriate at the beginning of Elul, the month that preceded Rosh Hashanah. To this end Rabbi Israel Salanter, founder of the nineteenth century Mussar revival, undertook a forty day period of silence annually, from the beginning...
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Vayera – A Rock Feels No Joy

October 28, 2015
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Vayera – A Rock Feels No Joy

Listen to an audio version I Am A Rock by Paul Simon A winter’s day in a deep and dark December I am alone gazing from my window to the ground below The earth’s beneath a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow I am a rock. I am an island. And a rock feels...
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