Category Archives: Rabbinical School Divrei Torah

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63.5% of Torah Read, Only 36.5% to Go

I’m so glad to see all of you here this morning, and I’m grateful for your presence. I am throwing myself this siyyum to celebrate the Torah reading that I’ve done since I started rabbinical school. I didn’t know how to chant Torah when I started rabbinical school. Let’s be honest, I barely knew Hebrew at the beginning of rabbinical school. So my first bit of thanks should go to… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: “Betzalel came and healed the wound.”

Last week’s parsha, Ki Tisa, recounts what is quite possibly the lowest moment in the relationship between God and the people of Israel in the entire Torah. Last week, when Moshe and God became aware of the chasm between what was happening on top of the mountain and what was happening down below, it was devastating. Whatever made the people build that golden calf—whether it was lack of imagination, or… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: The Capacity to Understand

The command—not to oppress the stranger—is rooted in our own experience of strangeness.  It is repeated no fewer than 36 times in the Torah, but, in this week’s parasha, I imagine how it must have sounded to the ears of those newly freed slaves who stood trembling at the base of the mountain—exhausted, elevated, and called to radical empathy. Remember all that you have been through, and then translate it… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: “We must choose life in the world we’ve got, and plant our gardens on this side of the rainbow”

An ancient rabbinic midrash tells us that God created and destroyed many worlds before bringing this one into being. The tale speaks, I believe, to an impulse that is all too familiar. The impulse—when confronted with profound disappointment—to destroy in order to begin again. This is the impulse that overtakes God, as it were, at the very end of last week’s Torah portion. “The Lord saw how great was man’s… Read Article →

Community Blog Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Ha’yom Harat Olam: Today the World is Conceived

BY RABBI NEHEMIA POLEN AND RABBI MICHAEL SHIRE These reflections  are excerpts from the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, published in August 2017, for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and order your copy. RABBI NEHEMIA POLEN: Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev explores the shape of the Jewish calendar: Why does it begin in the fall? Given that the Talmud records a dispute about whether Rosh Hashanah occurs in the… Read Article →

Community Blog Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Rosh Hashanah Musaf

This reflection is an excerpt from the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, published in August 2017, for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and order your copy. I: Malkhuyot (God’s Sovereignty) The line “Adonai melekh, Adonai malakh, Adonai yimlokh l’olam va’ed” (God reigns, God has reigned, and God will reign forever) is found here and several other places in the machzor, but does not appear anywhere in the Bible…. Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Allow the human breath to be a summons and a blast

This reflection is an excerpt from the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, published in August 2017, for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and order your copy. As we enter the month of Av this week, and the period of nine days leading to Tisha b’Av, we begin a sustained period of heshbon nefesh and teshuva— soul-searching and self-reflection on a national, communal, and personal level.  The great Talmud scholar, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: On Being Caught in the Thicket

This reflection is an excerpt from the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, published in August 2017, for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and order your copy. The ram’s horn is silent at first As is the ram. Caught in the thicket, Waiting for Abraham to lift his head and see, It appears at the last minute, Out of nowhere, When it’s almost too late. Of course, it was… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Amidst fragments of shattered hope, of love betrayed, of broken promises, we ask the question: What went wrong?

This reflection is an excerpt from the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, to be published late summer 2017, for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and sign up for our pre-order list.  Tomorrow, on the 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz – or Shiva Asar b’Tammuz — we enter the saddest period in our sacred calendar.  Many observe a fast from dawn to dusk, as we begin counting the… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Daniel-Lehmann

The Dual Nature of Shofar

This reflection is an excerpt from the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, published in August 2017, for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and order your copy. The sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, during the month of Elul leading up to Rosh Hashanah and on Rosh Hashanah itself, has a dual nature. In one of the classic medieval codes of Jewish law, the Arba’ah Turim, the laws… Read Article →