Parashat R’ei

PARSHAT RE’EH

In Parshat Re’eh, Moshe reviews the laws of kashrut. The Torah says that these laws separate us from the Nations and make us a holy people by precluding us from eating detestable things.  (Devarim 14: 2-3, 21)  Inasmuch as kashrut is such a defining aspect of Judaism and indeed of the Jewish People, it seems worthwhile to look at kosher rules a bit more closely.  In doing so, we consider not only the Written Law found in the Chumash ...

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Parshat Shoftim

When I was a kid, I was a very important person in shul. My dad was not at all prominent in the greater society — he merely worked for his brother, selling toys and stationery as a wholesaler in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, starting his workday at 7 a.m. and working through 7 p.m. every day, including Sunday. (Sabbath-observant, he got to leave midafternoon on Fridays.) But at shul, he was well liked, even loved, and was ...

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Parshat Ki Teitzei

It took my divorce to understand fully all of those sermons that I had preached over the years about caring for the orphan, the widowed, the poor, the stranger

With approximately half of American marriages ending in divorce, the social crisis unfolding within the American Family Institution concerned me deeply as a congregational rabbi during the 1980s and ’90s, my first two decades in the pulpit. I spoke about it. I ...

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Parshat Ki Tavo

This week’s portion, Ki Tavo, is best known for its bikkurim (first fruits) passages, the verses we are commanded to recite when bringing our first fruits to the Kohen at the Temple in Jerusalem (Devarim 26:5-10). You will recognize the text as one of the most frequently quoted passages in the Torah because it comprises the core of the Passover seder service, as it concisely recounts the story of travel to and enslavement in Egypt ...

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Parshat Ha’a’zinu

Your child comes home and says she wants to be a doctor someday. Your spouse or serious beau tells you he or she dreams of being something greater. And you douse the dream with a comment: “You aren’t smart enough,” “You don’t have the skills needed to do that” or “No one will take you seriously.”

Or that same person, rather than dreaming of embarking on a career or changing one, dreams of intensifying her relationship ...

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