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  1. Dependent? Yes, But on Whom?

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on August 29, 2014 in God

    The Cairo Genizah, a rich treasure trove of Jewish history (60,000 fragments of this repository are housed in The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary) rediscovered by Solomon Schechter toward the end of the 19th century, attests to the rich Jewish ...

    stasch - August 27, 2014

  2. Lessons of Idolatry

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on August 22, 2014 in God

    Parashat Re-eh looks forward to the entry of the Israelites into the Land. While there is excitement and anticipation that the Israelites will become a settled nation, the Torah expresses deep concern with regard to the native peoples and idolatrous pract ...

    stasch - August 20, 2014

  3. Humility: God Is Above and Below

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on August 8, 2014 in God

    Parashat Va-ethannan, the second Torah reading of the book of Deuteronomy, places much of its emphasis on the loyal observance of mitzvot, God’s commandments. Asylum cities are established in Transjordan, the people are repeatedly warned against idolatry, ...

    stasch - August 6, 2014

  4. Yearning: Poetry and Prayer (Part 1)

    Commentary by Rabbi Samuel Barth on June 27, 2014 in God

    Psalm 42 offers an extraordinary journey through the life of the soul, and perhaps it is not by chance that traces of this psalm are found in various places in the liturgy. In a previous essay, we looked a little at poetry within the liturgy, and the way ...

    stasch - June 24, 2014

  5. Balancing God’s Will and Our Own

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on June 6, 2014 in God

    Parashat Beha-alotekhagives us insight into the Israelite trek through the wilderness. Far from undertaking a journey guided by their own instincts and initiative, the Israelites were bound to rely on divine guidance. Numbers 9:17 teaches, “And whenever t ...

    stasch - June 3, 2014

  6. The Blessing of Happiness

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on May 30, 2014 in God

    One of the centerpieces of Parashat Naso is the Priestly Blessing. God speaks to Moses and commands him to communicate the text of the ritual blessing with his brother Aaron: “‘Thus you will bless the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘The Lord bless you and ...

    stasch - May 28, 2014

  7. Finding Direction to Move Forward with God

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on May 23, 2014 in God

    This Shabbat opens the fourth book of Torah known as Sefer Bemidbar, the book of Numbers. Though in Hebrew, the title translates as “the Book of the Desert,” alluding to the desert wanderings of the people, the standard English translation is “Numbers,” r ...

    stasch - May 20, 2014

  8. Keeping a Sound Relationship with God

    Commentary by Rabbi Mychal Springer on May 23, 2014 in God

    The midrash teaches us that God destroyed the world several times before creating our world (Bereishit Rabbah 3:7 and 9:2). Famously, after the flood, God establishes a covenant with Noah, Noah’s sons, and all living things. God says: “I will maintain My ...

    stasch - May 20, 2014

  9. Walking Together with God

    Commentary by Rabbi Daniel S. Nevins on May 16, 2014 in God

    I saw a strange thing on my walk to minyan the other morning. At a quiet side street with no crosstraffic in sight, a woman stood still, waiting for the walk sign. All around her people bustled by, peeking quickly to make sure no truck was barreling down ...

    stasch - May 14, 2014

  10. Between Heaven and Earth

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on May 16, 2014 in God

    Fertility of humans and of the land is the essence of divine blessing. It is the theme of the first commandment of Torah—“Be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28).” It is the sacred wish of each couple in the Torah as they desire to see the next generation. I ...

    stasch - May 14, 2014