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  1. 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, ...

    stasch - June 24, 2014

  2. 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 wh ...

    stasch - June 3, 2014

  3. 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 ...

    stasch - May 28, 2014

  4. 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 ...

    stasch - May 20, 2014

  5. 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 main ...

    stasch - May 20, 2014

  6. 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 barreli ...

    stasch - May 14, 2014

  7. 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 gener ...

    stasch - May 14, 2014

  8. Sacrifice and Humility

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on April 11, 2014 in God

    The Torah reading opens with God speaking to Moses in the aftermath of the death of Aaron’s two sons, Nadav and Avihu, who “drew too close to the presence of the Lord” (Lev. 16:1). Their death is both shocking and mysterious. But most immediately, ...

    stasch - April 10, 2014

  9. The Fire Within

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on March 11, 2014 in God

    Parashat Tzav discusses the role of the priests in the Temple, and emphasizes the vigilance with which they were to offer sacrifices. As the parashah opens, Aaron and his sons are commanded to tend to the ritual of the burnt offering. “A perpetual ...

    cldemesier - March 13, 2014

  10. The Power of Partnership and Positive Thinking

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on February 26, 2014 in God

    The raising of the Tabernacle was a daunting task for the Israelites. Based on Exodus 39:33, “And they brought the Tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its vessels,” Rashi makes the claim that the people themselves were incapable of erecting the ...

    cldemesier - February 26, 2014

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