Do We Ever Reach The Promised Land? | Parashat Va’etchanan

Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld| Congregation Albert, Albuquerque, New Mexico Va’etchanan begins with Moses’ lamenting to the people that because of his action of disobeying God at the Waters of Bitterness God punished him by not allowing him to enter the land of Canaan (see Parashat Chukat, Num. 20.) Moses would not see his efforts beginning in […]

Visions for Jerusalem | Parashat Devarim

Rabbi Dr. Ulrike Offenberg | Juedische Gemeinde Hameln, DEU Legend has it that Napoleon was once riding through Paris (others say: through Vilna) when he heard crying and lamenting voices from a synagogue he was passing. He had his entourage inquire what had happened and they brought back the message that the Jews were mourning about […]

Fairness Awareness | Parashat Matot-Masei

Rabbi Becky Hoffman | Associate Rabbi and Religious School Director, Temple Kol Tikvah, Woodland Hills, CA Is fairness learned or is it innate? In a study of capuchin monkeys, Professor Frans de Waal showed that monkeys understand the concept of fairness[1].  In the experiment, he placed 2 monkeys in clear cages side by side.  The […]

How “Peace, order and good government” Trump | Parashat Pinchas

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   Rabbi Jeffrey Ableser | Temple Beth El of Flint, Michigan, USA Why would an eighteen verse story in BeMidbar be cut in half and read over two Torah portions? Our Torah portion, Pinchas, is problematic for a number of reasons. It starts out with the grandson of […]

Truth to Power | Parashat Balak

In today’s day and age, it is almost trite to talk about the power of words. Trite, because unless you’ve been living under a rock, this generation can communicate the most trivial of things to the farthest reaches of the world in the blink of an eye.

Dealing with death | Parashat Chukat

Most people I know would say that death is frightening. While Judaism has notions of afterlife, these are not emphasized.  However, we do have extensive literature on the mourning process.

Compassion Fatigue and the Exodus from Egypt | Parashat Beshalach

In Australia we speak of “Eureka!” moments: moments when something crystallizes in the mind, when vague thoughts that have been floating about suddenly come together to provide an insight that wasn’t there previously. I had this kind of Eureka! moment as I sat down to prepare the drash on this week’s sidra Beshalach. I realized that much […]

Finding the Covenant | Parashat Va’Era

Parashat Va’Era (Exodus 6:2–9:35) continues God’s revelation to Moses begun at the Burning Bush. The parasha opens with what, for the Torah, is a lengthy monologue (6:2-6:8), in which God tells Moses six distinct things

Crossing Hands for Peace | Parashat Vayechi

I have always found Jacob to be the most fascinating person in the Torah. There is really no one else quite like him; he is a complex and devious character even in utero who endures a life of challenges and disappointments and is changed by them.

Why Are We Called Jews? | Parashat Vayigash

We were once called Hebrews during the time of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca. After Jacob got his name changed to Israel and moved to Egypt, the people were called Israelites. This continued for the entire biblical period until Rome ruled over an area it called Judea when we were called Judeans. There were a few instances of the word Yehudim–Jews used in the Book of Esther but not enough to make it a historical reality.