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Torah Study

The Invisible Man: Parshat Tetzaveh

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 04.07.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Moses' name does not appear in this week's Torah portion. Why not? And how does he gain our admiration by disappearing?

If You Build It, He Will Come: Parshat Terumah

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 03.31.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

In Exodus 25:8, G-d promises the Jewish people that if they build the Tabernacle, He will dwell amongst them. But isn't G-d already everywhere? And now that the Tabernacle and the Temples have been destroyed, where does G-d reside?

You've Been Summoned: Parshat Mishpatim

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 03.24.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Wouldn't it help us improve our relationship with G-d if we received a summons to appear in court every time we failed to live up to His expectations? Maybe -- but be careful what you wish for...

Who's Got the Mummy? Parshat Beshalach

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 03.11.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

In this week's Torah portion, Parshat Beshalach, it's time to leave Egypt. But while the Jews are busy collecting reparations for their years of slave labor, their leader, Moses, is out searching for Joseph's bones.

Snakebit: Parshat Va'Eira

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 02.24.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

G-d sends Moses and Aaron to confront Pharoah again. Staffs turn into snakes during the showdown. But there is more going on than meets the eye.

The Man of Steel: Parshat Shemot

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 02.18.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Superman's origin story makes us think about a scene in this week's Torah portion -- and about our own superpowers.

Reading the Bible As a Human Being

Rabbi Joseph Meszler | Posted 02.10.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Joseph Meszler

More than the commentaries, we learn from listening to each other. It is a fundamental understanding of the group that everyone has something to learn and something to teach. Truth is sought through dialogue.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coffin: Parshat VaYechi

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 02.10.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

The Book of Genesis ends on a seemingly sad note, recording the death of Joseph in the last passage. But is that a sad scene -- or a message of hope and faith?

Shema Yisrael: Parshat VaYigash

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 02.02.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

During the emotional reunion of Jacob and Joseph, only one of them hugs the other initially. What is the other one doing, and why?

Great Idea, Einstein: Parshat Mikeitz/Thanksgivvukah

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 01.27.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Joseph interprets Pharoah's dreams, and then offers some unsolicited advice. The advice provokes surprising praise from Pharoah. What's going on?

Fathers and Sons: Parshat VaYeishev

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 01.25.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Joseph faces extraordinary temptation as his master's wife attempts to seduce him. His father's image saves him, foreshadowing a later heroic attempt by King David to save his son.

It's Mine, All Mine - Parshat VaYishlach

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 01.23.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Jacob gets attacked by Esau's angel after crossing a river alone. What was so important on the other side of the river to cause Jacob to face danger by himself?

Thanksgiving: Parshat VaYeitzei

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 01.23.2014 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Leah names her fourth son "Yehuda," drawing the name from a word meaning thankfulness. But why did she wait for her fourth son's birth before thanking G-d?

Shock of a Lifetime - Parshat Chayei Sarah

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 12.23.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Rebecca's first encounter with her husband Isaac leaves a long-lasting impression.

'I Don't Want to See the Boy Die' - Parshat Vayeira

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 12.15.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Tune in for a novel explanation of a deeply troubling scene in Genesis chapter 21 involving Abraham's second wife, Hagar and her son, Yishmael.

Installing Skylights: Parshat Noach

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 12.03.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

There is some debate as to what Noah used to allow light into the ark. But both possibilities are illuminating for us.

A New Beginning: Parshat Bereishit

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 11.23.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Cain gets a pep talk from G-d but then goes out and kills his brother Abel. What was he thinking? And why do we continue to make the same mistake?

The Holiday Gift Guide: Parshat Shoftim

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 10.07.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

The Hebrew month of Elul is here, so the High Holidays can't be far behind. Obviously, G-d has everything, so what gift can we possibly give Him?

Why Keep Kosher? Parshat Re'eh

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 09.29.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

In this week's Torah portion of Re'eh (Deuteronomy, Chapter 14), Moses recounts the laws of Kashrut (laws of keeping kosher). This begs the question: "Why keep kosher?" To learn the answer -- watch the video!

Learning to Listen (Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Ariel Mayse | Posted 09.22.2013 | Religion
Ariel Mayse

This week's Torah portion (Ekev) opens with the call to listen to God's commandments and closes with an invitation to connect to the Divine by imitating, or "walking in," His ways. But what exactly are we to hear amid the laws?

Swear Words: Parshat Matos-Masei

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 09.01.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

This week's Torah portion discusses the annulment of vows. So when we say "Kol Nidrei" on Yom Kippur, what types of vows can and can't we wipe out?

We Are Family: Parshat Pinchas

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 08.25.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Pinchas' act of zealotry in Numbers chapter 25 earns him the priesthood. But it also casts new light on a prior scene involving his tribe of Levi and the tribe of Shimon back in Genesis chapter 34.

Avada Kedavra: Parshat Balak

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 08.18.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Long before Voldemort and Saruman uttered their first fictional curses, the Jewish people faced off against the real-life sorcerer, Bilam. Bilam's plan to curse the Jews failed when G-d turned his curses into blessings. But do coerced blessings ever take effect?

Who Let the Snakes Out? Parshat Chukat

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 08.11.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

The Jews are bitten by snakes after complaining again in the desert. At G-d's instruction, Moses builds a copper snake so that the Jews can look at it and be healed. What message was G-d trying to send to them -- and to us -- and how can that message help keep us healthy?

Not You Two Again! Parshat Korach

Harry Rothenberg | Posted 08.03.2013 | Religion
Harry Rothenberg

Korach is joined in his rebellion by Moses' life-long antagonists, Doson and Aviram. Will Moses jump at his big chance to get rid of them forever?