Parashat Bereisheet 5784

October 16, 2023

Dr. Yakir Englander

It was morning in the Mount Scopus neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Hebrew University campus. Up early, I was preparing to make my first presentation as a university student participating in a course on Carl Jung. I was analyzing a Talmud passage in which Rabbi Yohanan is arguing with his disciple, Resh Lakish, about whether knives and swords are considered ritually unclean.

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Parashat Bereisheet 5784

October 9, 2023

Rabbi Enid C. Lader

וַיִּקְרָ֛א יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֖וֹ אַיֶּֽכָּה׃ 

The ETERNAL God called to the human and said to him:

Ayekha? (Gen. 3:9)

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Parashat Bereisheet – 5783

October 19, 2022

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah What Cain Learned A D’var Torah for Parashat Beresheet By Dr. Yakir Englander In the Genesis story, we find Cain and Abel in a field. There the elder brother, Cain, kills Abel, the younger. Midrash Rabbah (22) on this passage remarks that Cain does not know how to take the life of another human person. So, he decides to imitate his brother, slaughtering him in the same way he had seen Abel himself slaughter animals as sacrificial offerings to God. When that same God questions Cain, after the murder, it is with either an utter innocence or with a calculated intent to cross-examine the killer: “Where is your brother Abel?” And Cain responds, without batting an eyelid: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) It is a disturbing passage. As a Jewish theologian, I have always felt that this dialogue between Cain and God has an irrational...

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Parashat Bereisheet 5782

October 1, 2021

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Bereisheet By Rabbi Matthew Goldstone As we once again begin our annual reading of the Torah, we anticipate the many rich stories that pervade the first book of the Bible. The narratives remain the same year after year, despite our hopes that perhaps this time our ancestors might not make the same mistakes that they did in the last Torah reading cycle. The first mistake that we encounter is of course the decision to eat from the forbidden fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden. The snake encourages Havah (a.k.a Eve) to have a taste and that fateful choice ultimately leads to the expulsion of humanity from that prehistoric paradise. Narrowing in on the dialogue between the snake and Havah, we find that the primordial mother of humanity does not articulate the...

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Parashat Bereishit 5781

October 16, 2020

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah   A D’var Torah for Parashat Bereishit By Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman The story of creation. Though the Torah does not tell us, we might ask: Why did God create in the first place? Perhaps because God was lonely. Not ordinary loneliness – existential loneliness. God existed, but as long as nothing else did, God’s existence had no meaning. So God set out to create something – someone – with whom God could have a relationship – a relationship which later God will call love. God created in search of love. With the most unusual holiday season behind us, and an extraordinarily stressful few months ahead of us, it might be wise to embrace some of the lessons of God’s search for love. Our Kabbalistic tradition wisely points out that God’s first step in creating love was to make Godself smaller. On one level, that was a...

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