Category Archives: Rabbinical School Divrei Torah

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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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 →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

“We are all broken vessels, infinitely precious in the eyes of God”

A midrash from Vayikra Rabbah on this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Emor, teaches: Rabbi Aba bar Yudan taught: All that God prohibited in an animal sacrifice, God accepts in a human being. What is prohibited in an offering?  When a person offers, from the herd or the flock, a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord…it must, to be acceptable, be without blemish; there must be no defect in it. Anything… Read Article →

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Vertigo

He binds his son with the leather straps of his shoes – The knife, placed on a rock nearby, still for now. The boy turns his face to his father, and says: “Do not tell my mother While she is bent over a pit, Or standing on the roof Lest she throw herself down and die.” I am standing in the kitchen early Friday morning with my list, when my… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Rabbi Nehemia Polen

Passover Bares the Anatomy of Miracles

The story of the exodus from Egypt is filled with descriptions of signs, wonders and miracles. The Nile turns to blood, the waters of the Red Sea split, manna falls from heaven. Yet most contemporary celebrations of Passover do not emphasize these occurrences, preferring rather to focus on the concept of freedom and its social, psychological and political implications. Talk of miracles is quite out of fashion in our day… Read Article →

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Generosity of Heart

Note: This message was originally distributed on March. 22, 2017 to the Hebrew College  community, alumni and friends. Dear friends, Generosity of heart. Nedivut halev. This is the starting place for the building of the mishkan. This is how we begin to make room for the divine presence in our midst. In this week’s Torah portion, Vayakhel-Pekudei, Moses instructs all of the generous hearted among the people to bring offerings to the Lord… Read Article →

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“You may not turn your back and say amen”

Note: This message was originally distributed on March. 8th, 2017 to the Hebrew College  community, alumni and friends. Dear friends, One of my favorite practices on Purim is the mitzvah of mishloach manot — delivering gifts of food to friends and neighbors. Rabbi David Hartman relates this mitzvah to the fact that the Book of Esther, which we read on Purim, does not mention the name of God. Purim speaks to all… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Josh-Weisman-

Celebrating Women’s Mark on the Textual Tradition from Esther to Today’s Teachers of Jewish Text

The holiday of Purim, whose observance centers around the public chanting of the Book of Esther, is a yearly opportunity to reflect on women in the Jewish textual tradition, and women’s relationship to it. A woman, after all, has top billing as one of two heroes of the story, a true rarity within the Bible. With courage and humility, Esther skillfully maneuvers of the nuances of her socio-political context to… Read Article →