וְיֵעָשׂוּ כֻלָּם אֲגֻדָּה אֶחָת לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם

All shall unite to do God's will with an open heart.

וְיֵעָשׂוּ כֻלָּם אֲגֻדָּה אֶחָת לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם

All shall unite to do God's will with an open heart.

8 07, 2022

Parashat Hukkat

By |2022-07-29T11:42:29-04:00July 8, 2022|

In this week's D'var Torah, Rabbi Ariann Weitzman shows how Parashat Hukkat provides a recipe for communal care that is not a burden to individuals but is a shared obligation across the community.

8 07, 2022

Parashat Hukkat 5782

By |2022-11-09T14:54:21-05:00July 8, 2022|

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah

A D’var Torah for Parashat Hukkat
By Rabbi Ariann Weitzman (’11)

The most frustrating thing about cleaning is that things don’t stay clean and you’re going to have to do it all over again. The second most frustrating thing about cleaning is that it’s hard to do without winding up filthy yourself. This is exactly the paradox of the ritual of the red heifer. As we read at the beginning of parashat Hukkat, the only way to cleanse the ritual impurity attached to caring for or touching the dead is to bring impurity to a wide circle of others. In order to produce the “waters of lustration,” which are used to ritually purify those who have been in contact with the dead, a perfectly unblemished red heifer, who has never had the experience of being yoked, must be slaughtered and burned to Read More >

30 06, 2022

Parashat Korah 5782

By |2022-11-09T11:28:52-05:00June 30, 2022|

When the Law is Unjust, We Break the Law
By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16)

Last week, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, withdrawing the already paltry federal protections on abortion rights. Many states already had trigger laws in place and abortion access became unavailable to thousands of people overnight. Congress had 50 years to codify federal legislation to allow reproductive freedom throughout the country. A leak of the current Supreme Court decision broke out about six weeks ago, allowing time for the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, dominated by people who claim to support reproductive freedom and choice, to react before the decision was formally handed down. And yet, no preparations were made for this moment. Very few elected officials did anything to protect us, but so many were ready to wail and moan with us and ask for our votes and money as soon as the SCOTUS decision was Read More >

24 06, 2022

Parashat Shelah 5782

By |2022-11-09T14:54:43-05:00June 24, 2022|

In this week's D'var Torah, Rabbi Katy Allen says that Caleb and Joshua teach us not to catastrophize but to seek out the best and maintain a positive outlook even when the future feels fearful.

17 06, 2022

Parashat Beha’alotekha 5782

By |2022-11-09T14:54:50-05:00June 17, 2022|

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah

A D’var Torah for Parashat Beha’alotekha
By Rabbi Enid Lader (’10)

On the day that the Mishkan [portable Tabernacle/Temple] was set up, the cloud covered the Mishkan, the Tent of the Pact; and in the evening it rested over the Mishkan in the likeness of fire until morning. It was always so: the cloud covered it, appearing as fire by night… At a command of the Eternal, the Israelites broke camp, and at a command of the Eternal, they made camp… (Numbers 9:15-1618)

In his commentary on this week’s Torah portion, Beha’alotekha, Netivot Shalom (Rabbi Shalom Noah Berezovsky, 1911-2000, better known as Netivot Shalom or The Slominer, after his book and the Hasidic sect he led) invites us to understand the building of the Mishkan on a personal level. When the Eternal said, “Let them make Me a sanctuary that I may Read More >

10 06, 2022

Parashat Naso 5782

By |2022-11-09T14:55:00-05:00June 10, 2022|

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah

What’s Your “Work Work”?
A D’var Torah for Parashat Naso
By Rabbi Rob Scheinberg

The original sacred ritual space of the Jewish people, the Mishkan, was portable. Whenever the Israelites moved from place to place in the wilderness, the Mishkan would be disassembled and transported to its next location. The Levites were the ones in charge of its porterage, and the different families of the Levites each had different holy objects to carry whenever the Mishkan would travel with the people from place to place.

This is the context for one of the more unusual verses in the Torah, a verse in the beginning of the book of Numbers (Parashat Naso), that describes the Levites’ roles. After specifying that the Levites were to work from age 30 to age 50, the Torah (Numbers 4:47) divides the labors of the Levites into two categories, referred to Read More >

3 06, 2022

Parashat Bemidbar 5782

By |2022-07-29T11:40:16-04:00June 3, 2022|

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah

The Torah is for Everyone
A D’var Torah for Parashat Bemidbar
By Rabbi Marc Rudolph (’04)

Before the Sinai Desert was returned to Egypt in the Peace Treaty of 1978, it was possible to take a bus directly from Tel Aviv to the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm el Sheik. I boarded that bus alone on my Spring Break of 1973 when I spent a year in Israel. I intended to camp out on the beach and snorkel on the reefs of the Red Sea off Sharm El Sheik. There were only a few of us on that bus, including a Bedouin man. We traveled for hours through seemingly interminable and vast expanses of wilderness. When we think of “wilderness” in North America, we imagine tracts of virgin forests with wild rivers flowing through them untouched by human hands. We think of nature “untamed” by humankind. Read More >

9 07, 2021

Parashiyot Mattot-Masei 5781

By |2022-07-29T11:24:19-04:00July 9, 2021|

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah

A D’var Torah for Parashiyot Mattot-Masei
By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16)

Hodesh Tov. The height of summer is upon us, and with it three weeks of mourning bookended by fasting during a season we most need to be drinking plenty of fluids. I have written elsewhere before about my ambivalence over Tisha B’Av and the Three Weeks, and this year is no different. This Shabbat, we read the second of three Haftarot of Affliction, along with Parashiyot Mattot-Masei. These Haftarot admonish the Israelites for their constant idol-worship and warns of the conquering army on its way to punish them. This cycle of community dissolution and rejection of HaShem, followed by destruction and diaspora, continued in the days of the Second Temple, and so we read them in the oppressive heat of summer to remember the fall of both Temples and Read More >

2 07, 2021

Parashat Pinhas 5781

By |2022-07-29T11:24:19-04:00July 2, 2021|

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A D’var Torah for Parashat Pinhas
By Rabbi Ariann Weitzman (’11)

Parashat Pinhas’ eponymous lead character is an unusual one, with his very brief story spanning two parashiyot. Last week in parashat Balak, we read about Pinhas’ zealotry in killing two people, whose names are later revealed to be Cozbi and Zimri, who he believed to be part of a mass Israelite descent into Moabite idolatry and away from God, spurred on by sexually immoral behavior between Israelite men and Moabite and Midianite women. In response to his act, God abruptly ends a plague which had been terrorizing the Israelite encampment, purportedly as a punishment for this idolatry. Thus ends last week’s parasha. While perhaps we’re used to overzealous or even violent acts coming to good ends in Torah, the beginning of this week’s parasha might still surprise us.

Pinhas’ Read More >

24 06, 2021

Parashat Balak 5781

By |2022-07-29T11:24:19-04:00June 24, 2021|

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah

A D’var Torah for Parashat Balak
By Rabbi Doug Alpert (’12)

Responding to a request from a congregant at my Shul, for quite some time now we have been studying the role of angels in Judaism. I was grateful for the suggestion as I immediately knew the source for our studies, the book, A Gathering of Angels by Morris B. Margolies z”l. I grew up with Rabbi Margolies as my spiritual leader. As I am continually looking for opportunities to cite and honor all of my teachers to have the opportunity to do a deep dive into Rabbi Margolies’ most widely read work has been a source of great joy to me. Rabbi Margolies has had an enormous influence on my work as rabbi; particularly his passion and courage in confronting controversial issues of social injustice.

A Gathering of Angels has served as a valuable Read More >

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