Torah Commentary

Ki Tisa: G-d, Moses, and Anger Management

Ki Tisa: G-d, Moses, and Anger Management
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”  This exclamation from the 1976 movie Network seems to fit this week’s Parasha, Ki Tissa.   When Moses does not return from atop Mt. Sinai, where G-... Continue Reading »
Feb 14

Tetsavveh: Lighten up!

Tetsavveh: Lighten up!
In this week’s Torah portion, Tetsavveh, G-d instructs Moses to tell the Israelites to bring him clear oil of beaten olives for the lighting the lamps of Tent of Meeting.    Why olive oil, specifically? The Midrash uses a parabl... Continue Reading »
Feb 07

Terumah: Paying our "voluntary" dues

Terumah: Paying our "voluntary" dues
When I became bar mitzvah in the Fall of 1968, my father, z”l, had recently completed two terms as President of the local synagogue.  That must be why my speech was about the "ten percent tithe."  Donations wouldn&rsquo... Continue Reading »

Mishpatim: It's "That Time of Month."

Mishpatim: It's "That Time of Month."
This Shabbat, Mishpatim, is also “Shabbat Mevarechim” -- the Shabbat on which “we bless.”    What do we bless (or sanctify)?  The new month that begins during the coming week.  In this case, the mon... Continue Reading »

Yitro: The Most Jewish Thing We Can Do.

Yitro: The Most Jewish Thing We Can Do.
What's “the most Jewish thing” we can do?   Say the Sh’ma?  Light and bless Shabbat candles?  Fast on Yom Kippur?   Keep kosher? Tell a Jewish joke?  (For the latter, see Pew Report opinions). Gi... Continue Reading »

Beshallach: Has your rabbi ever asked you this?

Beshallach: Has your rabbi ever asked you this?
When was the last time your rabbi -- indeed, any Jew – inquired about your relationship with G-d?  I suspect that the answer is “never.”   What would you say/how would you feel if he/she did so?  Would you be at a ... Continue Reading »
Jan 10

Bo: The Karet and the Stick

Bo: The Karet and the Stick
[Given at Kehillat Moreshet Yisrael, Jerusalem, 12/31/2013 – 28 Tevet 5774] Motzei Shabbat, I attended a lecture by Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis in which he discussed some of the implications of the Pew Report.  Perhaps his most interesting ... Continue Reading »

Va'era: More Justice, More Jews!

[D'var Torah given to Kehilat Moreshet Yisrael, Jerusalem, December 28, 2013] In this week’s parasha, Va’era.  G-d instructs Moses to assure the Israelites that G-d has heard their cries.  G-d speaks the famous lines that... Continue Reading »
Dec 27

Sh'mot: No Harm, No Foul

Sh'mot: No Harm, No Foul
When Moses approaches the burning bush, G-d instructs him to remove his sandals because he stands upon “holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5).  But G-d doesn’t explain why Moses shouldn’t wear sandals upon holy ground.  Why not... Continue Reading »

Yayechi. Tradition: A Democracy of the Dead

Yayechi. Tradition: A Democracy of the Dead
Twice in this week’s Torah portion, Vayechi, the last in the book of Genesis, the dying extract promises from those who will outlive them.  First, Jacob solicits Joseph’s promise to remove his bones from Egypt and bury them in the Pr... Continue Reading »
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He who guards his mouth preserves his life
Proverbs 13:3