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Torah

Preparing Our Seeds for a New Year

Daniel Raphael Silverstein | Posted 08.25.2014 | Religion
Daniel Raphael Silverstein

This week we will enter the Hebrew month of Ellul, a time traditionally dedicated to preparation for the re-birthing that waits us in one month - Rosh Hashana, the New Year.

Don't Mourn the End of Summer

Rabbi Ilana Garber | Posted 08.21.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Ilana Garber

We spend the first half of summer trying to get to as many beaches as possible and eating too much ice cream, and the second half mourning summer's early demise.

Divine-Human Partnership (Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12 - 11:25)

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg | Posted 08.14.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

It's hard to know which should make us more afraid: the notion that the human being or God is the absolute master of history. It is difficult to decide in the name of which of these attitudes more blood has been spilled, or which is more likely to destroy the world first.

Beyond Tragedy and Despair: Emerging From Tisha b'Av (Isaiah 40:1-26)

Rabbi Jill Jacobs | Posted 08.05.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Jill Jacobs

If we succeed in building these roads, "the presence of God will appear" (Isaiah 40:5). Emerging from the tragedy of this war, we can -- and we must -- focus on creating the paths that will allow the divine presence to return.

Don't Weaponize Your Words (Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

Rabbi Joshua Stanton | Posted 07.30.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Stanton

Too often, we draw a false distinction between words and deeds, underestimating the impact that words can have on our souls and communities. We presume harsh words to be fair game online, in the mysterious ether of "virtual" interaction.

Hope and Despair (Masei, Numbers 33:1-36:13)

Rabbi Daniel Klein | Posted 07.24.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Klein

In a seemingly simple, but profound manner, the Torah portion of Masei challenges us to live between hope and despair, paying careful attention to the possibilities of the present moment, while laying the foundation for the future.

Hope and Despair (Masei, Numbers 33:1-36:13)

Rabbi Daniel Klein | Posted 07.24.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Klein

In a seemingly simple, but profound manner, the Torah portion of Masei challenges us to live between hope and despair, paying careful attention to the possibilities of the present moment, while laying the foundation for the future.

Hope and Despair (Masei, Numbers 33:1-36:13)

Rabbi Daniel Klein | Posted 07.24.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Klein

In a seemingly simple, but profound manner, the Torah portion of Masei challenges us to live between hope and despair, paying careful attention to the possibilities of the present moment, while laying the foundation for the future.

Promises on a Bumpy Road (Mattot, Numbers 30:2-32:42)

Rabbi Minna Bromberg | Posted 07.17.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Minna Bromberg

Here in parashat Mattot, the Israelites are already encamped on the Plains of Moab, having finished their 40 years of wandering in the desert. Soon they will spend the length of the Book of Deuteronomy listening to Moses give them final instructions.

Muslims Must Sustain Israel, for the Sake of Palestine

Dr. David Liepert | Posted 07.14.2014 | Religion
Dr. David Liepert

For Middle east peace to come to pass, our world needs nothing more than Israel as God wants it to be.

Religious Zealotry, Then and Now (Pinhas, Numbers 25:10-30:1)

Rabbi Joshua Ratner | Posted 07.14.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Ratner

How can we, as humane, 21st century Jews, make sense of this embrace of violent religious zealotry? Further, can we both denounce contemporary manifestations of this religious zeal while holding fast to Parashat Pinhas as part of the Torah we so venerate?

This Robot Uses Modern Technology To Do An Ancient, Holy Task

AP | Kirsten Grieshaber | Posted 07.10.2014 | Religion

BERLIN (AP) — The robot's quill runs across the paper scroll, from right to left, scribbling down ancient Hebrew letters with black ink. It is penni...

Models of Prophecy (Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9)

Rabbi Herzl Hefter | Posted 07.02.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Herzl Hefter

Like the great prophet, we must always remain humble in our spiritual pursuits, knowing our limitations and recognizing the possibility of learning from all those created in the divine image.

What Made the Rebbe Judaism's Greatest Contemporary Leader

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach | Posted 08.30.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

The twentieth anniversary of the Rebbe's passing is being accompanied by the portrayal of the Rebbe as the founder of Judaism with a smile. But this is not the whole story and it sanitizes the Rebbe's legacy. In truth, the Rebbe was a revolutionary.

We Do Not Live by Reason Alone (Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1)

Rabbi Amy Eilberg | Posted 08.24.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Amy Eilberg

I do not understand the law of the red heifer, but since the Temple is no more, I need not observe it. I do, however, believe deeply in prayer for peace, even though I cannot know how it might work. I pray every day for peace to come and I hope that you do too.

From the Trenches of the War of Ideas (Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32)

Rabbi Mishael Zion | Posted 08.18.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Mishael Zion

Instead of seeking to push our opponents down into the bowels of the earth, we must hold onto two truths at once: that we must fight for what we believe in, without losing respect for those on the other side. That is the only fitting way if we seek to live a life of virtue and integrity.

Jewish Jesus in Renaissance Art and the Roots of Anti-Semitism

Bernard Starr | Posted 08.18.2014 | Religion
Bernard Starr

Isn't it time to celebrate the common heritage of Judaism and Christianity, despite the differences between the two faiths? Isn't it time to endorse Pope Francis's bold statement: "A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic; his roots are Jewish"?

The Divine Presence in Time and Space (Shlach, Numbers 13:1-15:41)

Rabbi Lawrence Troster | Posted 08.10.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Lawrence Troster

Their idea of God is a divinity limited in time and space. God gets fed up at the peoples' continued lack of faith and tells Moses that it is time to destroy them and start again with Moses as a second Abraham.

Understanding Sinai

S.R. Hewitt | Posted 08.04.2014 | Religion
S.R. Hewitt

The narrative of what occurred at Mount Sinai is not one of the better-known biblical stories. Perhaps, because it is overshadowed by the unfortunate event that happened shortly thereafter...that whole incident with the golden calf.

Uniting 'Round the Mountain

Naphtali Hoff | Posted 08.01.2014 | Religion
Naphtali Hoff

The importance of each individual is certainly something that we are all aware of. We saw at the outset of the book of Numbers that God loves each individual and views our very existence as an opportunity to demonstrate that love.

Shavuot: Divine Light and Earthly Vessels

Rabbi Or Rose | Posted 08.03.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Or Rose

In preparing for the celebration of the holiday of Shavuot -- "the time of the giving of Torah," as it is referred to in countless rabbinic sources -- I have been reflecting on a striking teaching from the great Hasidic sage Rabbi Levi Isaac of Berditchev.

Celebrating The Giving Of The Torah

Posted 06.03.2014 | Religion

History Shavuot is a Jewish holiday which celebrates God's giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. It is also known as the "Feast of...

Overhearing God's Voice (Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89)

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg | Posted 07.27.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

If we seek no special revelation and do not expect to be addressed exclusively with particular instructions, we can hear its meditations everywhere, the heart and essence of being, and, if we so choose, understand them as God's sacred voice

The Numbers of Those Who Wandered in the Wilderness (Be-Midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20)

Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Ph.D. | Posted 07.22.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Ph.D.

As we count the days toward Shavout, the time of receiving the Torah, a time when we stay up all night studying Torah, it behooves all Jews to wrestle with the words of Shavit and Burg as we seek to embody a Torah of empathy.

"Walk With Me": What Do the Curses in Leviticus 26 Mean for Us Today?

Rabbi David Seidenberg | Posted 07.16.2014 | Religion
Rabbi David Seidenberg

What do these curses mean, and what can they teach us? It sounds like the message is just that we should be obedient -- but that's not what it means.