Weekly Torah Portion

 

11.9.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Tol’dot     In this week’s Torah portion, Tol’dot (literally, “generations” or “descendants”), we usually focus on the stories surrounding Jacob and Esau.  In the middle of this parashah is a story about a famine in which Isaac and Rebekah go to the area known as Gerar.  In Gerar, they encounter Avimelekh, the king of the… Read more »

11.2.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Chayei Sarah          When I was at the Pittsburgh vigil Sunday night, I stood near the back of the crowd, taking scrupulous care of my candle.  It was a single Shabbat candle with foil wrapped around the bottom.  The wind was slight, but it was enough to make me fear for the candle.  I kept… Read more »

10.26.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Veyera Chapter 22 of Genesis deals with the Akeidah, the binding of Isaac.  I have many thoughts on this chapter.  First of all, how do we know that this was really the voice of God?  What kind of test is it to ask a man to sacrifice his only remaining son at home and… Read more »

10.19.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Lekh Lekha If I were working as a translator, asked to concisely render the opening words of this parashah, I think I’d be stumped.  I would have to make a clear choice that sums up the meaning of these words.  The phrase lekh lekha can be translated in a number of different ways.  The… Read more »

10.12.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Noah This week we read Parashat Noah which is a classic biblical story familiar to many of us. It is a tale of how a broken world full of broken people was destroyed with a flood by God and that Noah, the righteous man of his generation was spared along with his family and animals; and… Read more »

10.5.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Bereishit Last Friday night, I spoke about the hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  I spoke about their effect on survivors of sexual assault – the countless many of us who are experiencing re-traumatization.  Precisely now, when our national conversation focuses on sexual assault and some of us are reliving our worst memories,… Read more »

9.28.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Sukkot After months of preparation, meticulous planning, collective engagement, and Divine partnership, we find ourselves at a very special time of the year. While this describes the arrival of the mid-term election season, my thoughts have been much more immersed in the successes of the High Holy Days and, currently, the celebration of Sukkot…. Read more »

9.21.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Ha’azinu Here we stand. Almost at the end, almost in the promised land. But, as the saying goes, too long after sunset and too far from dawn. We are in the final stretch. A space that can be the cause of our anxiety where the perils of the road are very much still ahead… Read more »

9.14.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

This week’s Torah Portion is Vayelech, “and he went.” This is a most appropriate Parsha for this Shabbat Shuvah. Moses went and spoke to the people and told them that Joshua was going to be their new leader. They already knew this, yet he wanted them to know that Joshua’s time to lead had come…. Read more »

9.7.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Nitzavim Nitzavim is the last parashah of the Jewish calendar year. In it are several important items to consider as we stand at the threshold of the year 5779. At the forefront of the message of this parashah is teshuvah. Over and over the message of “return” is put before us; not just the… Read more »

8.31.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Ki Tavo Just as the Israelites are about to cross into the land of Israel, a declaration is made: “Moses and the levitical priests spoke to all of Israel, saying: Silence! Hear, O Israel! Today you have become a people of Adonai, your Source” (Deuteronomy 27:9).  This declaration is the language of relationship. Moses… Read more »

8.24.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Ki Teitze Deuteronomy 23 :22 When you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not put off fulfilling it, for the LORD your God will require it of you, and you will have incurred guilt;  23 whereas you incur no guilt if you refrain from vowing.  24 You must fulfill what has… Read more »

8.17.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Shoftim With Rosh HaShanah arriving in less than a month (and my daughter going back to school this week), summer has officially ended and my attention has turned towards the fall.  During the next few weeks leading up to the High Holy Days, our tradition guides us to step-up our focus on inner-work, preparing… Read more »

8.10.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Re’eh Resentment is that bitter indignation at believing we have been treated unfairly. It’s what happens when the stories we tell ourselves about what we deserve do not match reality, and we say to ourselves, “This is so unfair!” We all carry resentments: towards our supervisors for passing us over for a raise or… Read more »

8.3.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Eikev My three-year-old daughter, as many young children do, has recently developed many fears.  She is afraid of going down the drain.  She is fearful of the dark and the shadows that linger in her bedroom.  She is wary of cars when we are crossing the street (this is a good one I know). … Read more »

7.27.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Va-Etchanan Clarity This week we read in our Torah portion the verses that later will become part of the most sacred of Jewish prayers, the Shmah: Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day.  Impress them upon your children.  Recite them when you stay at home and when you are… Read more »

7.20.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat D’Varim This week’s Parashah is D’Varim.  This translates to “things/words.”  This is the beginning Parashah of the 5th Book of the Torah, D’Varim/Deuteronomy.  It is also the beginning of Moses’ last speech to the Israelite People.  Moses is still upset about not getting to enter the Land of Canaan, and he takes out his… Read more »

7.13.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Mattot-Mas’ei This week’s Torah portion is a double portion which always occurs during the Three Weeks prior to Tisha b’Av, the darkest day on the Jewish calendar when we recall the destruction of the Temple.  The parashah opens with a discussion about vows.  “If a person makes a vow….that one shall do whatever comes out… Read more »

7.6.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Reading morally challenging texts in the Torah can be approached in more than one way. We can recognize that the text should not be read literally, but rather came about in a time and place with much different moral standards than our own.  One weakness of this methodology is that it’s fine if we’re studying… Read more »

6.29.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

This week’s Torah Portion is Balak. This is the name of the King of Moab, a country that Israel would overtake.  He is afraid of the Israelites and calls for Balaam, a prophet to curse the people so that he can defeat the Israelites.  He is so into winning that he doesn’t consider talking to… Read more »

6.22.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Sometimes the only thing that can penetrate the thickest of walls is the wailing of a child. As a parent of a two-year old, I’ve become quite familiar with a child’s cry. Over the course of the past two years, I’ve grown more accustomed to our son’s crying and the various sentiments he’s expressing. I’ve… Read more »

6.14.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

When I was in college, I was in a Greek house, a co-ed fraternity. In some ways my experience was unusual (there aren’t many co-ed fraternities out there) and in other ways my experience was typical (rushing, pledging, and partying). Looking back, I find the most lasting lessons of this experience involve leadership. I had… Read more »

6.1.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

This week’s Torah Portion is Be’haalotcha. This translates to “in his arising/going up.” This Parashah has a lot in it. I want to focus on the problems that are encountered this week. The people became unsatisfied and complained again! They remembered the great food they ate in Egypt and wanted the meat, fish, leeks, etc…. Read more »

1.26.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

I want to begin this week with GRATITUDE for everyone involved in our Gala and especially Janet Rosenblum and Avia Rosen! We have had an enormous amount of fun and reached amazing milestones. The dedication of the entire Development department is beyond description and measure. Avia and Janet, thank you for leading the charge and… Read more »

1.19.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

This week marks the beginning of a personal transition as I enter my final semester of rabbinical school. While exciting and full of purpose, this moment is also fraught with uncertainty and anxiety. I recognize this space of questioning and internal strife and it feels all too familiar; it is not the first time I… Read more »

01.12.18 Weekly Torah Portion

n one of my groups this week, we looked at the opening passages of this week’s Parasha, Vaera, in which God appears to Moses, explaining that, while our ancestors knew God by the name “El-Shaddai,” Moses will know God by the name “Adonai.” I asked the people in the group why they thought God would need… Read more »

1.5.2018 Weekly Torah Portion

Of all the rich imagery and noteworthy scenes in this week’s parsha, the beginning of the book of Exodus, there’s one in particular which is at the forefront of my mind. After Pharaoh’s edict to have all newborn males killed, Moses’ mother, unable to bear what will become of her son, places him in a… Read more »

12.29.2017 Torah Portion

As Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker in Marvel’s Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.” While most of us have not been bitten by radioactive spiders and granted the special abilities of Spiderman, we still each have the opportunity to find ourselves in positions of power. Sometimes this power comes from a job or… Read more »