Tag Archives: Jewish Learning

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Lehmann

To be a Guest in the World (Parshat Behar-Behukotai, Leviticus 25:1-27:34)

By Rabbi Daniel Lehmann The two Torah readings of Behar and Behukotai (paired in a joint reading this week) conclude the book of Leviticus. The first portion, Behar, begins with the laws of the sabbatical and jubilee years (every seventh year and fiftieth year respectively). Both of these special years construct an alternative relationship between the Israelites and ownership of land, agriculture, and human servitude. One verse in the middle of… Read Article →

Pluralistic Perspectives Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

“As we count each day and bless the counting, may we be reminded to count our blessings”

Dear friends, Every day, from the second night of Passover to the festival of Shavuot, we literally count our days. The period is known as the Omer, originally rooted in the agricultural rhythms of ancient Israel, a time of both anxiety and anticipation, as farmers waited to see what the season’s first harvest would yield. Most of us are far removed from the experience of watching for signs of a… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lev

The 50 Year Itch (Parshat Tazria-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson Amidst all the unfamiliar and gross-sounding skin conditions described in this week’s parshah, one jumps out with surprising, blaring familiarity: Shechin. “When the flesh has shechin in the skin and is healed…” (Lev. 13:18) Shechin is the sixth plague that God brought upon the Egyptians. Some of us dip our pinkies in our cups at the seder table each year, removing drops of wine during the recitation… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah rachel-adelman-100x100

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 →

Community Blog Rabbi Jim Morgan

Shame and Drawing Close to Holiness (Parshat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

In a 2016 New York Times Op-Ed, Sally L. Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld observe that modern American culture has been “down on shame [as] a damaging, useless emotion that we should neither feel ourselves nor make others feel.” This trend is unfortunate, they argue, because it ignores the positive role that “appropriate shame”—which they define as “the feeling that one has failed to live up to one’s own standards”—can play… Read Article →

Pluralistic Perspectives Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

“Questions Unite People, Answers Divide Them” (Elie Wiesel)

Dear friends, “The essential questions have no answers. You are my question, and I am yours — and then there is dialogue. The moment we have answers, there is no dialogue. Questions unite people, answers divide them.” I can’t think of a time when we have more needed to hear these wise words from our teacher Elie Wiesel, of blessed memory. We are living in a world where we are… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Michael-Rosenberg

Sacred Clean-up (Parashat Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

When my wife and I lived in Jerusalem, we had good friends who would often invite us for Shabbat meals. This particular couple had a very specific division of labor in their marriage, because while one partner loved to cook elegant, multicourse meals, the other partner, Abe (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) had no interest in cooking. So while Cora would be in the kitchen cooking, Abe… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Monica Gomery

Calling Out and Coming Close (Parshat Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26)

Mónica Gomery is in her final year at the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. Her interests include poetry, communal singing, Talmud study, pastoral care, and racial/economic/gender justice. She currently works as a prison chaplain, teaches Talmud at the Boston Workmen’s Circle, and helps run the Boston Teen Beit Midrash. In Hebrew, the book of Leviticus is named for its opening word, “vayikra,” meaning “and he called.” Here God calls out to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

What Went Wrong, and Other Questions (Parshat Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35)

What went wrong? That is the question that hovers over this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tissa. One moment, we are with Moses on top of Mount Sinai, silent witnesses to his intimate encounter with the Divine Presence, watching as he receives the tablets of the covenant, the perfect revelation of God’s word. This is the gift we imagine we long for: The Definitive Truth, placed into human hands. Irrefutable, immutable… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Hebrew College Tablet Logo

“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 →