Tag Archives: Torah Commentary

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Killip

How Pure Does the Coalition Have to Be? (Parshat Mattot/Massei, Numbers 30:2- 32:42)

How pure does the coalition have to be? This is the question of the moment. Within the Jewish community, as well as in the broader political world—groups on both sides of the aisle are looking at the people standing next to them, working with them for a joint cause, and wondering how much room there is for difference when it comes to vision and goals. We recognize the need to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jim Morgan

Wonder Woman and Pinchas: The Persistent Appeal of Zealotry

(Parashat Pinchas Numbers 25:10 – 30:1) In the film Wonder Woman (2017), the heroine, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, intervenes in World War I on the side of the Allies. She zealously seeks the destruction of Ares, the god of war (the gods are almost Greek, but seem not to be immortal). Along with her multicultural group of allies, she determines that Ares has incarnated himself as the supreme… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Amidst fragments of shattered hope, of love betrayed, of broken promises, we ask the question: What went wrong?

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 three weeks toward Tisha b’Av, the day on which we commemorate the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. Over time, this period has become associated with other tragedies in Jewish holidaysour people’s… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman

Covering of the Land (Parashat Balak: Numbers 22:2-25:9)

Parashat Balak opens with a fearful king dreading the arrival of the Israelite desert wanderers to his land of Moab. When he speaks to the leaders of neighboring Midian, Balak’s fear refigures the approaching Israelites as grazing animals — he says (Numbers 22:4), “Now, this assembly will nibble away everything around us as the ox nibbles the grass of the field.” In a single verbal gesture, the king paints the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

Pushing On Through the Wilderness

Parashat Chukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1 It has become a cliché that in life, we should focus on the journey, not the destination—we are advised to “enjoy the ride” and “pick more daisies.” It is easy to imagine ourselves within the quintessential image of this sentiment: a carefree, smiling person, basking in the sunshine, driving down an open road with car windows open or the top down, wind blowing through her hair…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adina Allen

The Blossoming of the Beloved Community

Parshat Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 As this week’s parsha begins, Korach—along with 250 chieftains of the community—criticizes Moses and Aaron for devising a system of religious practice in which only a select few are designated for Divine service. Where there was once an unmediated relationship, there are now layers—both physical and metaphorical—between the majority of the people and God. “Kol ha edah kula kedoshim u’bitocham Adonai—All of the community is holy,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah shoshana-friedman

Navigating the Land: Courage and Curiosity

Parshat Sh’lach L’cha, Numbers 13:1-15:41 Last November 9, I found myself in a new land. Distraught, I tried to put my finger on the root of my distress. It wasn’t just that I found the outcome of the election tragic for many reasons; I was experiencing something more profound, resembling extreme disorientation. I finally figured it out when I was reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote, “The… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Our deepest service in this world flows from the awareness of, and attention to, what we lack and how we love

“Every individual is a small world unto himself… No person has ever been identical to another person since the creation of the world, and therefore each and every person has a special shlichut, a distinctive purpose for which he was sent… The beginning of all avodah, all service, is discovering for what particular purpose one was sent to this world.” — Rabbi Sholom Noach Berezovsky, Netivot Shalom The longing to live… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman

If Only All God’s People Were Prophets!

Parashat B’ha’alot’cha, Numbers 8:1-12:16 The Israelites journeyed through the wilderness when the Divine Presence still whispered in their midst. Though the sense of God’s footfall has long faded in our own turbulent times, the two rhetorical questions that punctuate this week’s Torah reading still resound. In one, the people complain, “If only we had meat to eat!”—more literally, who will feed us meat?; in the other, Moses calls for shared… 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 →