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Torah

Sophia Jones

Ancient Samaritan Sect, Straddling Israel and Palestine, Celebrates Passover On West Bank Hilltop

HuffingtonPost.com | Sophia Jones | Posted 05.03.2015 | World

MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank -- The chants and prayers of hundreds of men echoed Saturday night from the top of a West Bank hill nestled next to a Jewish ...

Walking Through Cloud (Parshat Acharei Mot/Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1-20:27)

Erica Brown | Posted 04.30.2015 | Religion
Erica Brown

When Moses finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.

The Yellow Star and the Scarlet Letter

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson | Posted 04.27.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson

Israel's policies can be legitimately criticized by fair-minded observers, but the criticism must be legitimate and it must be fair. And college and university officials must rebuke any campus organizations that pervert support for Israel into a modern-day scarlet letter.

Leprosy's Haunting Relevance (Parshat Tazria-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg | Posted 04.20.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

Even after we are healed, the experience of serious illness seriously transforms us, and the Torah's seemingly arcane rituals serve as a timeless reminder of the steps on that transforming journey.

Revisiting the Holy and the Ordinary (Parshat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer | Posted 04.16.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer

This week's Torah portion includes, in the words of anthropologist Mary Douglas, a "hoary old puzzle from biblical scholarship." As Douglas put it, "Why should some locusts, but not all, be unclean?

Getting Unstuck (Second Shabbat of Passover, April 11, 2015)

Rabbi David Jaffe | Posted 04.07.2015 | Religion
Rabbi David Jaffe

Passover is the holiday of getting unstuck. The Israelites lived in slavery for hundreds of years in Egypt, completed dominated by Pharoah and his regime. But the message of the biblical Exodus is that what is, now, does not have to be what is in the future.

Freedom Is Not the Point of Passover

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 04.03.2015 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

On the traditional interpretation, the moral of the Exodus story is that slavery is evil. This moral conveniently allows us to do nothing but gratefully savor life in a free country. However, if the Exodus story is about hard, harsh labor and Egyptians who deserve to be stripped, then we have work to do.

Passover Is a Prelude to Action

Rabbi Joseph Meszler | Posted 04.01.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joseph Meszler

Every year on Passover, Jewish people recall that "once we were slaves and now we are free." We dip celery in salt water to remember the tears of the Israelites in captivity.

Moses -- the Perfect, Unwilling, Unlikely Leader

Dr. Michael Laitman | Posted 04.01.2015 | Religion
Dr. Michael Laitman

Only a leader who nurtures brotherly love instead of lust for power and self-esteem can succeed in Israel. Israel's success lies in its unity, and only such a leader can unite the people.

Behold, the Table Is Set (First Shabbat of Passover, April 4, 2015)

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin | Posted 04.07.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

It was not the assumption of different gender roles per se that I found disturbing. One could argue that such expectations were well-negotiated over centuries. It was the invisibility that irked, the taking-for-grantedness of the contribution of women to the sacred home enterprise.

Jesus Is My Homeboy

Yolanda Shoshana | Posted 03.30.2015 | Religion
Yolanda Shoshana

When the movie ended, I was filled with emotion. I did not have any expectations of the film. I had assumed it would be like most religious films complete with a full white cast. Instead it was the most diverse looking religious film that I have ever seen.

Making Meaning of the Ashes in Our Lives (Parshat Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

Rabbi Asher Lopatin | Posted 03.26.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Asher Lopatin

These ashes are much like the things in life that didn't work out the way we intended them, the fallout of the unsavory things we have done that we wish we would never do. Sometimes no one else sees these burnt pieces of our lives.

The Real Meaning of Passover

Rabbi Manis Friedman | Posted 03.23.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Manis Friedman

Do you want to know the real meaning of Passover? Okay. Then let's start by asking, who was Pharaoh? What made him such an important villain?

The Importance of 'Calling' (Parshat Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26/Shabbat haHodesh)

Rabbi Marc Baker | Posted 03.19.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Marc Baker

We live in a busy, noisy world of multi-media overload, fast-paced online communication, and expectations of increased personal and professional productivity. Technology and social media have revolutionized how we communicate with and what we expect of one another.

Building Devotion (Parshat Vayakhel/Pekudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38)

Ariel Mayse | Posted 03.12.2015 | Religion
Ariel Mayse

Judaism is often described as a religion of law, an identity that it shares with Islam. But it is perhaps more accurate to consider Judaism as a religion defined by its commitment to embodied practice and experience.

More Than One Thing: Purim and Reflections of the Image of God (Parshat Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11 - 34:35 ; Purim, March 4-5)

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld | Posted 05.04.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Megillat Esther, which we read on the holiday of Purim this week, is a flamboyant, even farcical tale of good and evil. Its characters on the face of it are caricatures of human virtue and vice: Achashueras the foolish king who sits on the throne but exercises no true leadership or authority.

The Golden Calf: Managing the Noncompliant Client

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 05.02.2015 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

The golden calf passage is usually and correctly taken to describe a gross failure on the part of the Israelites. However, a seldom noticed aspect of the passage is that Moses' first responses are also failures.

How to Drive the Internet Highway Fearlessly, to Promote Religious Harmony

Molly Alexander Darden | Posted 04.26.2015 | Religion
Molly Alexander Darden

If religious leaders are to help influence society to live harmoniously, they will have to take courage and learn this 'new' way, or they can sit back and know they are probably not meeting their full potential.

Remembering the Future: Memories of the Heart (Parashat Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10/Shabbat Zachor)

Reb Mimi Feigelson | Posted 04.26.2015 | Religion
Reb Mimi Feigelson

This Shabbat, the weekly Torah portion embraces the consecration of the priesthood to God, and the special designated Torah reading for the Shabbat prior to Purim, known as Shabbat Zachor, commands us to remember/not forget our encounter with Amalek, who sought to destroy us.

Compulsory Love: What the Building of the Tabernacle Can Teach Us About Valentine's Day (Parshat Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Rabbi Joshua Ratner | Posted 04.20.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Ratner

The main reason I resist it is that I reject the very premise of the holiday: choosing an arbitrary time for the compulsory enunciation and celebration of love. After all, do I love my spouse, my mother, and other family members any more on February 14 than I do the other days of the year?

Acting With Godliness

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein | Posted 04.15.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

The Torah tells us in Parsha Mishpatim, that we are to "Distance yourself from falsehood." (Ex. 23:7) No other transgression, said Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Przysucha, has this commandment. What it is about falsehood that God is so concerned about us falling into?

Is Law a Kind of Love? (Parshat Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1 - 24:18)

Rabbi Joshua Stanton | Posted 04.13.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Stanton

This week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, comes on the heels of the Ten Commandments and begins delving into more detailed prescriptions for our actions. In some cases, its behavioral requirements seem immediately accessible and relevant.

What's More Important Than the Ten Commandments?

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D. | Posted 04.13.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D.

Our wise ancestors who wrote the Bible immediately followed the giving of the 10 Commandments with an even more powerful ethically demanding portion called, Mishpatim in Hebrew.

Learning From the Friendly Outsider (Parshat Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23)

Rabbi Arthur Green | Posted 04.07.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Green

What I have to say next applies to both Jews and Muslims; I say it to both. You live inside a bigger world. Not everyone is your enemy. There are plenty of Midianites out there, outsiders to your particularity, who wish you well.

Why We Know So Little About Moses and Jesus

Bernard Starr | Posted 04.05.2015 | Religion
Bernard Starr

The dearth of information about the formative influences on towering biblical figures such as Moses and Jesus has invited some skeptics to question whether they actually existed.