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Torah Commentary

The Unattainable Destination Shapes Our Journey

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 12.07.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

By Rabbi Becky Silverstein I once owned a refrigerator magnet that read, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey to get there....

All Who "Wander" Are Not Lost

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 12.07.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

Like many of us, I found out about the Orlando massacre on Shavuot. It was a terrifying and terrible moment. Once again, our nation was plunged into m...

How Far We Haven’t Come (Parshat Naso, B’midbar 4:21-7:89)

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 12.07.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

There should be a name for the particular sense of pride, the utter self-righteousness, that arises when we modern readers encounter the deeply proble...

Arrogance or Love? The Biblical Story of Joseph

Rabbi Arthur Waskow | Posted 01.25.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Two years ago, my life-partner, co-author, and often co-teacher Rabbi Phyllis Berman and I wrote and Jewish Lights published a reinterpretation of the...

Torah vs. Libertarians: Round 1

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 08.12.2013 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

The libertarian view of economic justice is approximately this: If people freely agree to exchanges, then they are fair by definition. Restricting people's freedom in order to bring about or maintain a certain pattern of wealth distribution is unjust. The Torah disagrees.

Walk Forever By My Side: Parshat Behar-Bechukosai

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 06.29.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Chapter 26 of Leviticus describes the magnificent rewards that await us if we study and observe the Torah (and the terrible punishments if we don't). But why are the rewards mostly physical rather than spiritual?

The Aftermath

Tamar Frankiel, Ph.D. | Posted 06.19.2013 | Religion
Tamar Frankiel, Ph.D.

Violent deaths should never happen. But when we are witnesses to such evil, we must engage even more fully with the work of perfecting the world.

Being A Rabbi Doesn't Make You Right

Lev Raphael | Posted 11.02.2012 | Religion
Lev Raphael

There are some many right wing Christians inveighing against homosexuality that it's sometimes easy as a Jew to feel superior, or at least comforted. My people don't get that crazy. Then a rabbi like Noson Leiter makes a shameful claim.

The Debate Over Noah: Was He Righteous Or Regular?

Rabbi Aaron Alexander | Posted 10.17.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Aaron Alexander

I am often amazed that a rabbinical debate can cover the globe and last more than 2,000 years. The controversy over Noah's essence as a person is a paradigmatic example of this phenomenon.

The Case For Humility: Numbers 19:1-27:1

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz | Posted 08.26.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

People of true wisdom embrace the importance of uncertainty. Is there anything in this life of which we can be absolutely certain?

Are Our Children Special? The Paradox Of Parenting: Numbers 16:1-18:32

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld | Posted 08.20.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Every child, every person, is indeed special -- in fact, utterly unique. But this is not an assertion of entitlement or privilege. It is an affirmation of radical responsibility and redemptive possibility.

Deception And Desire: An Overview Of Genesis

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach | Posted 03.07.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

It is a seemingly never-ending cycle that entangles the lives of even the most righteous of individuals. Unrequited desire usually leads to dire consequences.

Parshat Miketz: All Dreams Considered

Josh Fleet | Posted 02.21.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

Pharaoh dreams. He stands by the Nile and watches seven fat, beautiful cows pasture together. Moments later, seven gaunt, ugly cows approach the others. They stare at each other. The skinny cows devour the fat cows. Pharaoh wakes up.

The Quest For Religious Knowledge And The Perfect Manicure

Posted 01.02.2012 | Religion

Every Wednesday, Rabbi Yael Buechler prepares to teach Midrash, the Jewish tradition of Bible interpretation, to 19 middle school girls at a Jewish da...

Torah Lessons: What We Are And What We Can Be

Arnold M. Eisen | Posted 08.23.2011 | Religion
Arnold M. Eisen

The Torah does not often express the terror human beings feel in the face of death as directly as it does in this week's portion. Nor does the Torah often advise so explicitly how best to cope with death.