Tag Archives: Torah

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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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Adam Lavitt

Joyful “Seeing”

(Parashat Re’eh, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) A few weeks ago, the largest glacier ever broke off the Antarctic ice shelf. As global temperatures soar and shorelines shrink at an accelerated rate, we become more aware of ways in which our resources are limited. This is compounded by our reactions to these realities. We fear the instability we are witnessing around the world and feel compelled to hold onto whatever resources might help… 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 →

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Rosh Hashanah Musaf

I: Malkhuyot (God’s Sovereignty) The line “Adonai melekh, Adonai malakh, Adonai yimlokh l’olam va’ed” (God reigns, God has reigned, and God will reign forever) is found here and several other places in the machzor, but does not appear anywhere in the Bible. It is an early formulation of Jewish liturgy as it was first emerging in the post-biblical era. It is a statement of the eternal and unchanging truth that… 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 →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

On Being Caught in the Thicket

This reflection is an excerpt from the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, to be published late summer 2017, for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and sign up for our pre-order list.  The ram’s horn is silent at first As is the ram. Caught in the thicket, Waiting for Abraham to lift his head and see, It appears at the last minute, Out of nowhere, When it’s… 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 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

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

This reflection is an excerpt from the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, to be published late summer 2017, for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and sign up for our pre-order list.  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… Read Article →