Zero Sum God | Parashat Vayislach

Is there anything more agonizing than a child pleading to their parent for a blessing—knowing that that blessing is gone? But, was the blessing gone? How can it be that blessings are zero-sum, that giving a prized blessing to one son means it is not available to the other?

Deity Really Needs Us Too | Parashat Vayetze

Rabbi Michael Zedek | Emanuel Congregation, Chicago, USA This week’s Torah portion is rich in familial details and challenges, yet it begins with a man on the run, a person alone and uncertain what will become of him. So it is that the Patriarch Jacob comes upon a certain place, gathers stones of the place, […]

Speech is Life – How to avoid estrangement inside a family | Parashat Toldot

Rabbi Brad Bloom | Congregation Beth Yam, South Carolina, USA Parashat Toldot portrays a family in distress and a reminder about how families who do not communicate with each other will face a severing of relationships that oftentimes can never be healed.  Just think about the dynamics of this week’s Torah portion. It leads us […]

From Eliezer to Rebecca, a Torah Scholar | Parashat Chayei Sarah

Rabbi Uri Lam | Congregation Beth-El, São Paulo, Brazil And the Lord said to Abram: “Go forth from your land and your birthplace and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. (Genesis 12:1) And Abraham said to his servant (…): “To my land and to my birthplace you shall go, and […]

Holiness in Laughter | Parashat Vayera

Rabbi Dr. Rena Arshinoff, PhD | Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto, Canada Recent world events and the covid-19 pandemic can leave little for us to laugh at. In fact, we might even feel guilty if we laugh these days. A few weeks ago, I met with a colleague of mine in my office. During […]

The Divine is No Ordinary Parent: Lessons from One God to One People | Parashat Noach

The Divine One is no ordinary parent. After creating the earth and all the beings within it and seeing what a mess that humans can make of it, God makes an amazing and brilliant parental statement: “I will clean up your mess only once. Creation is a miracle and a gift to you. Whether you make the best or the worst of it, the consequences and responsibility are yours.”

Humanity’s Power Struggle with Nature | Parashat Bereshit

Rabbi Matthew Kaufman, PhD | Congregation Kehillat Israel, Michigan, USA “God said, ‘Let us make Adam in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.’” (Genesis 1:26) At the very moment […]

Our Hope for Rain | Parashat Shmini Atzeret

Rabbi David Feder | Temple Beth Israel-Shaare Zedek, Ohio, USA Shmini Atzeret, the Eighth Day of Assembly, is nearly forgotten as a festival. Even in ancient times, it seemed as if people just wanted to make it an additional day of Sukkot and the rabbis had to create means by which to separate it from […]

Remembering the Past to Create our Future | Parashat Ha’azinu

Three poems in the Torah are ascribed to Moses himself. The first in order of appearance is Shirat Hayam, the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15). The third is V’zot Habracha (Deuteronomy 33), in which Moses blesses the Israelite tribes before they cross the Jordan to go into the land. The second poem, named after its first word, Ha’azinu- Give ear, yields the name of our parasha.