Torah Commentary

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 »

Vayigash: "It's a Wonderful Life."

Vayigash: "It's a Wonderful Life."
According to the 1946 “holiday” classic that airs (“cables?”) on TV this time of year, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”    But that’s not what Jacob told Pharaoh at their single meeting, briefly re... Continue Reading »
Dec 05

Miketz: "If you will it, it is no dream."

Miketz: "If you will it, it is no dream."
Sixty-six years ago today (as I write this on November 29, 2013), one of the most momentous dreams in Jewish history came true.  In 1897, just after his First Zionist Congress had concluded, Theodor Herzl wrote in his diary:  "At Basle... Continue Reading »
Nov 29

Vayishlach: Prayer at Public Meetings

Vayishlach: Prayer at Public Meetings
“A Priest, a Minister, and a Rabbi walk into a bar.”   This week, I experienced a variation on this old joke introduction.  An Iman, a Reverend, and I walked into a meeting of Americans United for Separation of Church and S... Continue Reading »

Vayetze: Is All Fair in Love?

Love is one of the great themes in Jewish Scripture.  The Torah and other books speak of G-d’s love – severely tested -- for the Jewish people; their love of the land; and, of course, many instances of interpersonal love. A promin... Continue Reading »
Nov 08

Toledot: We're Not Doing Them Any Favors!

Toledot: We're Not Doing Them Any Favors!
The Torah’s account of how our patriarch Jacob loved his son Joseph best is one to which every sibling can relate.  We’re told how Jacob’s favoritism fueled his sons’ animosity and created decades of family misery. &... Continue Reading »
Nov 01

Vayera: I'm no angel.

Vayera: I'm no angel.
I’m no angel! In so stating, I’m not commenting upon the negative aspects of my character and behavior, although, unfortunately, I could be.  Rather, I’m referring to how Judaism views angels, why neither you nor I am s... Continue Reading »
Oct 17
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A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
Jewish Proverb