Parashat Metzorah 5784

April 17, 2024

Dr. Yakir Englander

This week’s Torah portion describes a “backdoor” entry into understanding the priesthood and the Tribe of Levi. Acts of Temple worship like the offering of sacrifices and the burning of aromatic herbs take place “up front,” where the Israelites in the courtyard (‘azarah) gaze in awe at the priests and Levites.

Read more >

Parashat Tazria 5784

April 8, 2024

Cantor Robin Anne Joseph (’96)

One of my rabbis used to tell a story about a time when his father was on death’s doorstep. He had been 30 days in a coma suffering from a rare blood infection. The doctor comes into the room and says, “I don’t think he’s going to make it. There is one more drug we can try, but it’s so strong— if it doesn’t help him, it could kill him.” He told my rabbi the name of the drug. “Oh!,” said my rabbi, “that is the same drug that I was given 40 years ago when I was sick with Typhoid fever. It saved my life.”

Read more >

Parashat Shemini 5784

April 1, 2024

Rabbi Rob Scheinberg

People sometimes ask questions to rabbis in the form, “Is there any Jewish significance to the number ,” or “Is it true that is an important number in Judaism?” Of course, the answer is always “yes.”

Read more >

Parashat Tzav 5784

March 26, 2024

Rabbi Greg Schindler (’09)

Well everybody’s got a secret, son
Something they just can’t face
Some spend their whole lives trying to keep it
They carry it with them every step that they take
‘till one day, they just cut it loose
Cut it loose or let it drag ‘em down.

Bruce Springsteen, Darkness on the Edge of Town

Read more >

Parashat Vayikra 5784

March 18, 2024

Rabbi Susan Elkodsi (AJR '15)

When I began studying Hebrew grammar with my friend Rabbi Amanda Brodie, one of the first things I learned about was the vav ha-hippukh (flipped), also called “the consecutive vav” or “narrative vav.” Normally, this letter serves as a prefix meaning “and,” “but” and sometimes “or,” and the word following is in the imperfect tense (an uncompleted action). But when this letter has a patah vowel (straight line) and the next letter has a dagesh (dot) inside, it “flips” and translates to something like, “and then….” basically suggesting a continuation of the narrative, and a perfect (completed) action.

Read more >