Parashat Vaethanan 5783

July 24, 2023

Rabbi Greg Schindler (’09)

This week’s Shabbat bears a special name, “Shabbat Nahamu” – the Shabbat of Comfort. Shabbat Nahamu comes on the heels of the saddest day on the Jewish calendar — Tisha b’Av. This is the day on which both Temples were destroyed. Moreover, other catastrophes fell on this date – the day Bar Kokhba (the leader of the revolt against the Romans) was killed in 133 C.E., the day in 1290 when the Jews were expelled from England, the day in 1492 when the Jews were forced to convert or flee Spain. And, in 1914, the day on which World War I, and the horrors to follow, began. Tisha b’Av, the Rabbis say, is a day set aside for sorrows. And not only our national sorrows, but our personal ones as well. It makes you wonder why we don’t just curl up in a ball and stay under the covers every Tisha b’Av. But we don’t...

Read more >

Parashat Va’ethanan 5782

August 12, 2022

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah Studying Torah 101 A D’var Torah for Parashat Va’ethanan By Rabbi Rob Scheinberg I first began to study Talmud in 7th grade in the Jewish day school I attended as a child. Those first months of Talmud were intensely frustrating. The Talmud, as a work of law, is supposed to be logical. And much of the content of the Talmud is, in fact, a series of logical arguments about different rabbis’ statements on various matters in Jewish law. But there were also a number of statements in the Talmud that, to my classmates and to me, just didn’t seem to make any sense. These rabbinic statements purported to be logical but just didn’t seem logical to us. Being seventh graders, my classmates and I expressed this frustration in a typical seventh grade manner, opining “This is stupid,” or “This is a waste of time,” or...

Read more >

Parashat Va’ethanan 5781

July 22, 2021

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah For the Love of God A D’var Torah for Parashat Va’ethanan By Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman It is in Parashat Va’ethanan that the Torah begins speaking about the love of God. Certainly the most famous of these verses follow immediately after the six words of the Shema. Let’s quote them in full: Deut. 6: (5)And you shall love Hashem, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all you might. (6)These words which I command you today shall be on your heart. (7)You shall impress them upon your children – speaking of them when you are staying at home or when you are moving along your way – when you lie down and when you rise up. (8)Bind them as a sign on your hand as a symbol between your eyes. (9)And write them on the doorposts of your homes...

Read more >

Parashat Va’ethanan 5780

July 31, 2020

The Torah and Quarantine 15 A D’var Torah for Parashat Va’ethanan By Rabbi Irwin Huberman (’10) There is a term associated with the deadly Covid 19, which has been making its way within medical and nutritional circles. It’s known as Quarantine 15 – referring to the fact that so many Americans have gained weight during the pandemic. In May, the website WebMD conducted a poll of 900 readers, reporting that 47 percent of Americans had gained between seven and 20 pounds during the first two months of the Covid crisis. Of those polled, about 72 percent reported they had been exercising less. About 70 per cent stated that they had been “stress eating,” often feeding their anxiety through “comfort foods.” And this week, the British government launched a program encouraging its citizens to address obesity caused in part by isolation during the pandemic. Laws limiting the advertising of “junk food” are...

Read more >

Parashat Va’ethanan 5779

August 16, 2019

  A D’var Torah for Parashat Va’ethanan By Rabbi David Markus It’s fitting that the “Jewish greatest hits” of Parashat Va’ethanan come immediately after Tisha b’Av. After our spiritual calendar’s lowest day, Torah promises that anyone who seeks God with whole heart and soul will find God exactly where we are – even in exile (Deut. 4:27-29). We stand again to hear the sacred utterances we call the Ten Commandments, recalling that together we stood at Sinai (Deut. 5:6-18). We receive the Shema of unity and the V’ahavta of a love that far transcends place – both “dwelling in home and walking on way” (Deut. 6:4-9). Notice how the three Va’ethanan dimensions of content, place and time commingle spiritually. The content is core Jewish theology. It’s our full-hearted search for God amidst a promise of real sacred encounter. (Heschel’s God in Search of Man, anyone?) It’s God pouring Self into Word becoming...

Read more >