Tag Archives: Torah Commentary

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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

A Web of Family and Friends

Parshat B’midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 For many years, I’ve felt like a person without a home. Since I left for college, my mom has moved many times. I have family in Arizona and Israel, New York and New Jersey and even New Zealand, but there’s no obvious single place to go when everyone else goes “home for the holidays”. It’s not just my family that’s far-flung; I’ve done my own share… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Hebrew College Tablet Logo

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 →

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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah jessica-kate-meyer

A House of Prayer for All

Parashat Emor, Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23 A friend of mine once described the pain he experiences each year when this week’s Torah portion rolls around. Ever since a spinal injury left him hemiplegic, he hears the verses Leviticus 21:16-23 as alienating and “othering,” and degrading his connection to the Divine and community: God spoke to Moses saying: “Speak to Aaron and say: ‘A man from your seed (for all time)… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Leora Abelson

Intimacy Through Repair

Parshat Aharei-Mot, Leviticus 16:1-18:30 In an interview on NPR, Nadia Bolz-Weber—the founder and pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver—talks about knowing that she will, at some point, disappoint or hurt the members of her community. For her, it is a question of when, not if. She names this often, and she invites her congregants to decide ahead of time to “stick around” when it happens…. Read Article →