Category Archives: Rabbinical School Divrei Torah

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

“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 →

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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 →

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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

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 →

Community Blog Rabbi Arthur Green

My Rabbinate

An abbreviated version of this text was delivered by Rabbi Green at the Rabbinical School semikhah ceremony on Sunday, June 4, 2017. Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of my ordination as a rabbi.  I was ordained on June 4, 1967 – the day before the outbreak of the Six-Day War.  It was a moment of high drama for all involved.  Elie Wiesel was the graduation speaker; the air was thick… Read Article →

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Speaking Torah: We do not make the journey to Sinai alone

Next week, Jewish communities around the world will gather to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot and the anniversary of the giving of the Torah. We have been preparing for seven weeks. Counting each day, from the second night of Passover to the first night of Shavuot, through 49 days of wilderness, 49 days of wandering. We offer a blessing each night before we count — a quiet reminder, if we are… Read Article →

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The Pit of Despair and Hope – A Reflection on Jerusalem

What plays on the soundtrack of your life?   Take a minute… Close your eyes… if I say high school prom, or a memorable summer when you fell in love…  what song immediately pops into your head?    For better or for worse, the night of my high school graduation is forever linked to Barry Manilow’s Copa, Copa Cabana.  I can’t think of labor and delivery of my son Eli without… Read Article →