Tag Archives: rabbi

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 →

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 →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Hebrew College Tablet Logo

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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

The Portable God Box (Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38)

I’m hesitant to admit it, but I didn’t grow up camping. I’d like for others to imagine me as someone who could hack it wandering around the woods for a few days, but in fact, I’m, quite inept when it comes to setting up tents—or really, constructing anything. There’s something about all of the bending, interlocking rods, those “easy-to-understand” pictorial directions with arrows pointing here and there—my brain goes into… Read Article →

Pluralistic Perspectives Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Living Torah

“As the grandchild of three Holocaust survivors, the affirmation of ‘Never Again’ is very personal to me.  But that doesn’t just mean never again for Jews.  It means never again for anyone.  This commitment is not just a response to specific traumatic events in history.  I believe, as Hillel taught, that it is the essence of Torah: Do not do unto others that which you find hateful.  As a rabbinical… 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 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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Adam Lavitt

The Sacred Space Between Us (Parshat Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Over the course of the fall semester, several swastikas appeared on the college campus at which I work. When I first saw a picture of one, spray-painted on the inside of a bathroom stall in the library, I was pained by the depiction of a symbol that is inextricably bound up with the systematic murder of many of my family members. What was particularly disconcerting about these symbols was that… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Hebrew College Tablet Logo

“And these are the laws.”

Note: This message was originally distributed on Feb. 22, 2017 to the Hebrew College community, alumni and friends. Last week’s Torah reading, Parashat Yitro, brought us back to the mysterious encounter at Sinai, where we stood — a trembling people before a trembling mountain — and listened for the commanding voice of the God who brought us out of Egypt. Parashat Mishpatim offers a striking contrast to the grandeur of… Read Article →