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Weekly Shabbat Message

>Shabbat Pekudei/Shekalim 5771

  • Posted on March 3, 2011
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We find ourselves at the stage between collection and construction. The materials for the Mishkan have been gathered; the people have been more than generous. The time has come to put it all together, and eventually, Moshe will set it up. But first, there’s business to conduct: an audit. Seriously, now! The project was commissioned Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Vayakhel 5771

  • Posted on February 24, 2011
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When Jesse Owens ran, or Baryshnikov danced, or Judy Garland sang, it was clear to those who witnessed them that they were destined to perform at the highest level. Sure, they had to work hard to achieve fame, but they began with a gift of raw talent, genius, a calling. Apparently, when the Biblical artist Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Ki Tissa 5771

  • Posted on February 17, 2011
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We can read the episode of Egel Hazahav, the Golden Calf, which dominates our Torah portion, in two distinct ways. It is either a ringing indictment of Aaron, or it’s an example of a leader thinking quickly to make the best of a rotten situation. Is he complicit in building the calf–remember, he is the Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Tetzaveh 5771

  • Posted on February 10, 2011
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The Ner Tamid, the eternal light that is such a powerful symbol in the synagogue, has its origins in this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh. Through Moses, God commands Aaron to gather pure olive oil to establish this Ner Tamid. Aaron and his sons are to set up these lamps “in the Tent of Meeting, outside Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Terumah 5771

  • Posted on February 3, 2011
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As we embark on a series of Torah readings that deal with the architecture and furnishings of the Mishkan, the Israelites’ wilderness-friendly portable sanctuary, we see a great deal of detail that may seem bereft of meaning. After all, do we look for spiritual inspiration in the technicalities of Ikea assembly manuals? But the beauty Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Mishpatim 5771

  • Posted on January 27, 2011
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In 21st-century New York, when we find ourselves exploited and powerless to challenge our oppressor, we call “Help-Me Howard.” But long before the popular TV news public advocate became a household name to New Yorkers, there was the Torah, the ultimate champion of the downtrodden. In particular, widows and orphans were seen as most vulnerable Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Yitro 5771

  • Posted on January 20, 2011
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We’re all, from time to time, guilty of “biting off more than we can chew.” Standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, preparing for the presentation of God’s covenant, that which we call Torah, the Israelites seem to have done just that: “All the people answered as one, saying, ‘ALL that the LORD has spoken Continue Reading »