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Weekly Shabbat Message

Shabbat/8th Day of Pesah 5775

  • Posted on April 9, 2015
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Something peculiar happens during the seder (many peculiar things happen, of course, which is why we ask questions) that requires special attention. As we tell the story of our rescue, we learn that our time in Egypt was predestined. After all, God told Avram (Genesis 15:13-14) that his descendants would be enslaved in a foreign land, but Continue Reading »

Shabbat Tzav/Hagadol

  • Posted on March 27, 2015
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How do we celebrate our independence as Americans? Well, on July 4, we get the day off from work, we often get together for a barbeque, share an adult beverage, maybe even participate in a Fourth of July parade, and finish our day with Fireworks by Grucci. We wear our American flag t-shirts from Old Continue Reading »

Shabbat Vayikra/HaHodesh

  • Posted on March 20, 2015
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This Shabbat, we have a guest giving the dvar Torah. I think you’ll be proud to hear her! In this space, instead of focusing on the content of the weekly Torah reading, I’ll focus on the form of what is a rather complex Torah service. This, my friends, is one of those rare Shabbatot when Continue Reading »

Shabbat Vayakhel-Pekudei/Parah

  • Posted on March 13, 2015
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Purim has passed, and we’ve had the wine-tasting event. That must mean that Pesah is around the corner. So how are your preparations coming along? Imagine if you had to make the following part of your Pesah prep: you’ve been to a cemetery recently, and you want to be sure that you’re entering the festival Continue Reading »

Shabbat Ki Tissa 5775

  • Posted on March 5, 2015
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How did Moshe and Aharon get along as brothers? They clearly do a good deal of work together, though they occupy different realms. But if there was any event in the Torah that would have put a strain on their relationship, it would have to have to been ma’aseh ha’egel, the Golden Calf episode, of which Continue Reading »

Shabbat Tetzaveh/Zakhor 5775

  • Posted on February 26, 2015
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Let’s look at the Purim story, as told in Megillat Esther, as a tale of two women. Though the king no doubt has many women in his harem, two queens are singled out by name: Vashti and Esther. The downfall of one paves the way for the ascent of the other. Let’s briefly review the Continue Reading »

Shabbat Terumah 5775

  • Posted on February 20, 2015
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It’s great when the Torah reading cycle gives us subliminal messages. Here’s what I mean: last week, when we read a special maftir in anticipation of Purim, we learned about the standard mandatory contribution for the upkeep of the sanctuary–the half-shekel. “The rich shall pay no more and the poor shall pay no less than Continue Reading »

Shabbat Yitro 5775

  • Posted on February 5, 2015
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Earlier this week, as we studied The Torah:A Women’s Commentary at evening minyan as we’ve done throughout the year, I mentioned the revolutionary interpretation by feminist Bible scholar Judith Plaskow about the revelation at Sinai. It’s based on the following textual curiosity. In chapter 19, God emphasizes that in preparation for the moment of revelation, Continue Reading »

Shabbat Beshalah 5775

  • Posted on January 30, 2015
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The angels have great seats for the contest by the shore. They’ve watched with wonder as God has split the Sea of Reeds and the Israelites have hurried between the walls of water. Now the Egyptian chariots, hot in pursuit, are between the sea walls, gaining on their prey. The angels, fans of the underdog Israelites, Continue Reading »

Shabbat Bo 5775

  • Posted on January 22, 2015
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Some of our family’s most interesting seder memories involve non-Jewish guests at our table–the local Presbyterian minister, a Catholic community organizer, a home care aid. Amazingly, I still sometimes field this question: “Are we permitted to have Gentiles at the seder table?” The roots of this question can be found in this week’s Torah portion, Continue Reading »