Guiding Principles

Noach: We Have No Choice Other Than Repair

Posted on October 28, 2022

The Story of Noah and the Flood belongs to a genre known as apocalyptic literature. Found mostly in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, these scriptures describe cataclysmic events that will occur before God intervenes to redeem the world. All these prophecies speak of events that will occur at the End of Days, with Continue Reading »

We Are Responsible for One Another

Posted on September 9, 2022

This week’s parashah, Ki Teitzei, tells parents what to do if they have a stubborn and rebellious child: If a man has a wayward and defiant son, who does not heed his father or mother and does not obey them even after they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him Continue Reading »

Punishment and Consequences

Posted on July 8, 2022

This week’s Torah portion is from Bemidbar, the Book of Numbers, the fourth book of the Torah. It is entitled Chukat or “decree.” It takes place as the Israelites are nearing the end of the forty years of wandering in the desert Although this parashah is the shortest in the Book of Numbers, like all Continue Reading »

Do the Right Thing

Posted on June 24, 2022

  This week’s parsha, from the Book of Numbers, Chapter 13 verse 1 to Chapter 15 verse 41, is Shelach Lecha, meaning “send for yourself.” The portion includes the well-known story of the “spies” or “scouts” who are sent to reconnoiter in the land of Canaan. In the first line of the portion, God authorizes Continue Reading »

Eradicating the Evil of Amalek

Posted on March 11, 2022

This Shabbat before Purim is called Shabbat Zachor after the special reading from Deuteronomy(1) which commands us to remember what Amalek did to us on our journey, after we left Egypt. Mercilessly, and undeterred by fear of God, Amalek caught us in a moment of weakness and attacked from the rear, cutting down the stragglers Continue Reading »

The Clothes Make Much More Than the Man

Posted on February 11, 2022

This week’s Torah portion is Tetzaveh, meaning “you shall further instruct.” The further instruction is a reference to last week’s portion, Terumah, in which God laid out highly specific directions for the building of the Mishkan to Moses. Having now designed a sanctuary so that God may dwell among the people of Israel, it is Continue Reading »

When Will Our Redemption Come?

Posted on December 24, 2021

This brief commentary is dedicated to the memory of Shuey Horowitz and Cindy Andrews, both of whom were what the Talmud would call “women of consequence.”(1)   In this week’s parashah, the Torah offers a lesson that would be significant had it been written today. That it was written some 2,800 years ago is truly Continue Reading »

Vayeitzei: We Must Speak the Truth

Posted on November 12, 2021

Some say it is from this week’s Torah portion that our rabbis derived the custom of wearing a kippah to cover one’s head. “And Jacob went forth from Be’ersheva…” says the opening verse of our parashah, Vayeitzei. Would our father Jacob go out without covering his head? Of course not, said our teachers. So much Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message for Ki Tavo: Ready, Aim, Live!

Posted on August 27, 2021

The Dubner Maggid told a parable that speaks poignantly to this moment in the cycle of the Jewish year: A champion marksman was passing through a tiny village when he saw a hundred circles drawn on the side of a barn – and in the center of each circle was a bullet hole. The man Continue Reading »

Parashat Balak: The Premise of the Story

Posted on June 25, 2021

There is much to unpack from this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Balak.  It is a well- known story of a man sent to curse our people only to have the curse turned into a blessing, and it is a story seemingly out of place.  It is a story to which neither Moses nor the Israelites Continue Reading »