Tag Archives: Deuteronomy-rav

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Angels in the Wilderness

Ha’azinu/Shabbat Shuva, Deuteronomy 32:1-52 Early in Genesis we find Hagar, with  dust in her hair and on her feet. Hagar is Abraham’s handmaid, pregnant with his first and oldest son, running from her master’s home. She runs furiously into the wilderness and stops by an עֵין הַמַּיִם, a spring or more literally, an eye of water. In Genesis 16:7-8 we read: And an angel of the Lord found her [Hagar]… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jane Kanarek

Not in Heaven: Neutrality or Responsibility

(Nitzavim/Vayalekh, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20, 31:1-30) Like all too many, I had an ambivalent relationship with my childhood Hebrew School. As a young child, I enjoyed it. I loved learning to read Hebrew, to chant the Shema, and to tell the Torah’s stories. But as I got older, I started to rebel against my four-day-a-week school. Much as I loved playing the ballgame gaga during break and relished sneaking in candy from… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adina Allen

Will We Listen?

(Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) In this week’s parsha, Moses sets two paths before the Israelites as they prepare to enter the land. If they heed God’s word, the Israelites will be blessed in every way possible and will be established as am kadosh, a holy people to God. If, however, they do not heed God, they will be cursed in every way imaginable. Their communities will be torn apart, their… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

First Questions

(Parashat Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) In Jewish sacred time, we have entered the season of teshuva. Often translated as repentance, teshuva comes from the Hebrew root meaning to return. However lost we feel, however far we have wandered – there is a way back. It is possible to find our way home – to God, to ourselves, to one another. At the heart of this season, then, is both a summons and an embrace…. Read Article →

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“If you see something, sing something.”

Parshat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9 “What are you writing about?” my mother asks. And I grumble at her because I’m sure that talking about it will only reveal how thoroughly undeveloped my thinking really is. But then I remember that — even though I am sitting in her house and using her computer — I am, in fact, a grown up and she is, in fact, someone who is… Read Article →

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Signs Upon Our Hands

Parshat Eikev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 In early July, I sat in a room at a retreat center in Northern California, listening with rapt attention to a group of queer elders telling stories. It was the second to last night of Queer Talmud Camp, a weeklong Talmud-study intensive for LGBTQ people and allies, put on by SVARA, a traditionally radical Yeshiva based in Chicago. “Elder” was a relative term in this context,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Elisha Herb

Wisdom for Crossing Over

Parashat Va’etchanan/Shabbat Nachamu, Deuteronomy 3.23-7:11 From the top of Mount Pisgah, Moshe surveys “the good land that is beyond the Jordan, that goodly hill-country and the Lebanon.” (Deut. 3:25) The land on which he would never set foot; the land that had been the collective Israelite destination for forty years; the land of their ancestors. Now 120 years old, Moshe entreats God to allow him to cross over. Surely, this… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Cantor Ken Richmond

Lifting Each Other Up: Preparing for Tish’a B’av with Joy as well as Sorrow

Parshat Devarim / Shabbat Hazon (Deuteronomy 1:1-3.22) The Talmud says that when the month of Adar with its manic Purim holiday begins, joy increases, and conversely, when the current Hebrew month of Av arrives, with its impending ninth day, Tish’a B’av, which commemorates the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem, joy is diminished. I wonder annually how seriously to link my personal emotional fluctuations with our cycle of communal… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Dan Judson, Director of Professional Development and Placement

This Side of the Promised Land (Parshat Ha’azinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-54)

I had the great pleasure a few weeks ago of moderating an event at Hebrew College at which two psychotherapists and two rabbis reflected on their work with dying patients. Among the many profound insights that came out of this evening, I was particularly struck by something reported by Rabbi Joel Baron of Hebrew Senior Life, who noted how often he worked with patients who felt deeply ready to die…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Creating Worlds with Our Words: Shabbat Shuva/Parshat Vayelech (Deteronomy 31:1-31:30)

“Every day, consciously and unconsciously, human beings scatter heaps of words to the wind . . .” — Haim Nachman Bialik We live in a world in which we are constantly pummeled with words — words of pundits and preachers, politicians and salespeople, promoters and self-promoters of every persuasion. It feels increasingly difficult to sift through all this verbiage for words that matter. It feels increasingly difficult to discern the… Read Article →