Archive | Teachings

Emor: An Eye for an Eye?

V’ish ki yiten mum ba’amito, ka’asher asah ken ya’aseh lo: shever tachat shever, ayin tachat ayin, shen tachat shen. Ka’asher yiten mum ba’adam, ken yinaten bo.  A person who inflicts injury on his fellow, as he did so shall be done to him: a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth […]

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The Mitzvah of Tochecha: Tough Love

Lo tisna et achicha bilvavecha; hochei’ach tochi’ach et amitecha v’lo tisa alav chet. Do not hate your brother or sister in your heart; you must admonish, yes, admonish them or you will bear some of their sin. (Leviticus 19:17) This week’s Torah portion is named Kedoshim, derived from the opening instruction of the parsha, “Kedoshim […]

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Acharei Mot: The First Yom Kippur

V’hayta la’chem l’chukat olam: ba’chodesh ha’shvi’I be’asor lachodesh t’anu et nafshoteichem, v’chol m’lacha lo ta’asu, ha’ezrach v’hager hagar b’tochechem. Ki va’yom hazeh y’chaper aleichem l’taher etchem mikol chatoteichem… And this shall be for you a law for all time: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall practice self-denial, and […]

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Passover: Our Season of Love and Liberation

This weekend my dear friend, colleague, author, composer and pioneer in Jewish spirituality Rabbi Shefa Gold will be leading a workshop under the auspices of the Lev Shalem Institute of the WJC entitled “Exploring the Landscape of Love Through the Song of Songs.” Registration for the weekend is now closed, but I wanted to make […]

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In Praise of “The New Haggadah”

V’chol ha’marbeh l’saper b’yetziat Mitzrayim harei zeh meshubach. And whoever expands upon the story of the Exodus from Egypt is worthy of praise (from the Passover Haggadah) As is my custom, as Passover approaches, I took down some various editions of the haggadah from my fairly extensive collection on my bookshelf so that I could […]

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Shmini: What Happened to Nadav and Avihu?

Va’yikchu v’nei Aharon, Nadav v’Avihu, ish machtato va’yitnu va’hen esh va’yasimu aleha ketoret va’yakrivu lifnei YHVH esh zarah asher lo tziva otam. Va’tetzei esh milifnei YHVH va’tochal otam va’yamutu lifnei YHVH. Now Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, each took his incense pan, put fire and incense in them, and brought near to the presence of […]

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Tzav: The Haftarah as Commentary and Critique

Va’yedaber YHVH el Moshe leimor: Tzav et Aharon v’et banav leimor: Zot torat ha’olah… And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: Command Aaron and his sons thus: These are the instructions for the burnt offering… (Parashat Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-2) This is what YHVH Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to […]

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Shabbat Zachor: The Origins of Amalek

Zachor et asher asah lecha Amalek ba’derech b’tzeitchem miMitzrayim, asher korcha ba’derech va’yezanev b’cha kol ha’necheshalim acharecha, v’atah ayef v’yageia v’lo yarei Elohim. Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt: how, undeterred by reverence for God, they surprised you on the way when you were famished and weary, and […]

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Pekudei: A Happy Ending

Va’y’chal Moshe et ham’lach, va’y’chas he’anan et ohel mo’ed uch’vod YHVH malei et hamishkan… ki anan YHVH al hamishkan yomam v’esh tih’yeh laila bo l’einei chol beit Yisrael b’chol mas’eihem. When Moses had finished the work, the Cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Presence of YHVH filled the Mishkan… Over the Mishkan YHVH’s […]

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