Torah Commentary

Ki Tissa: Moses’ Horns: Not a Mistranslation

Ki Tissa: Moses’ Horns: Not a Mistranslation

This week’s Torah portion contains one of the most fateful words in the history of the Jewish people!  That word is קרן “keren.”  ...   In the 4th century, St. Jerome translated the Bible from Hebrew into Latin.  His translation eventually became the official version of the Roman Catholic Church.  According to this week’s parashah, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai bearing the two tablets in his hand, he didn’t know that קָרַן עוֹר פָּנָיו בְּדַבְּרוֹ אִתּוֹ.”   Jerome translated this phrase into Latin as “cornuta esset facies sua ex consortio sermonis Dei” – “his face was horned from the conversation with the Lord.” 

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Tetzaveh: A Kindle for the Soul

Tetzaveh: A Kindle for the Soul

In this week’s portion, Tetzaveh, G-d continues instructions to Moses concerning construction of the Tabernacle. The portion begins at Exodus 27:20 with this sentence: וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד  The Jewish Publication Society translates this verse as: “You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly.”  It’s a practical translation, but to simply leave it at that risks completely missing what may be the more important meaning of the verse.  Let’s look at a few of the actual words.  

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Mar 01

T'rumah: The "Hellishness" of Chutzpah

T'rumah: The "Hellishness" of Chutzpah

This week’s Torah portion, T’rumah, provides detailed specifications for construction of the Tabernacle, the Israelites’ first project after having received the law on Mt. Sinai.  Should we care about the minutiae of how the Tabernacle was built?   Our sages certainly thought so – and not just because they were interested in ancient Israelite architecture!  From the Torah’s detailed description, they found guidance for conducting their own lives.  So can we. ...

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Sh'mot: A "Shameful and Foolish" Policy?

Sh'mot: A "Shameful and Foolish" Policy?
D’var Torah; Shabbat Sh’mot Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D.   January 13-14, 2012 – 18 Tevet 5772 A “Shameful and Foolish” Policy? This week the world’s news media has reported the assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist. Many... Continue Reading »

Va'era: Torah, Shabbat, and the "Purpose-Drive Life"

Va'era: Torah, Shabbat, and the "Purpose-Drive Life"
D'var Torah; Shabbat Va-era Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D. January 20-21, 2012 – 26 Tevet 5772 Torah, Shabbat, and the "Purpose-Driven Life" Do you lead a "purpose-driven life?" If that phrase sounds familiar, it may bring to mind the title of a... Continue Reading »
Feb 20

Beshalach: Torah's Best Food? Miracle Whip

Beshalach: Torah's Best Food? Miracle Whip
D’var Torah; Shabbat Beshalach Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D. February 3-4, 2012 – 10 Shevat 5772 Torah’s Best Food? Miracle Whip “Man does not live on bread alone,” says Deuteronomy 8:3. And indeed, the Torah is replete with other food ref... Continue Reading »
Feb 20

Yitro: Apples, I-G-d, and J-Tablets

Yitro: Apples, I-G-d, and J-Tablets
D’var Torah: Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23) By Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D.   February 10, 2012 Apples, I-G-d, and J-Tablets In the beginning, the Designer created apples. Then He/She created beings with artificial intelligence, and t... Continue Reading »
Feb 20

Mishpatim: "Neither a borrower nor a ..."

Mishpatim: "Neither a borrower nor a ..."
D'var Torah: Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18) Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D.   February 17-18, 2012 / 25 Shevat 5772 "Neither a borrower nor a …" Most Americans over a "certain age" can instantly complete the above adage with the words, "lender... Continue Reading »
Feb 20
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Jewish Proverb