Archive for category: Torah Commentaries

Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24)

07 Nov
November 7, 2013

Last week as I sat working in my study at the synagogue my daughter Gable called from the youth lounge (where she was working that day watching the kids) and with a worried tone told me that one of the kids who was hanging out in the lounge had mentioned that his grandmother was just […]

Bereshit 2006 (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

01 Nov
November 1, 2013

Every culture, every religion, every civilization has its own “creation story.” Ever since there have been human beings on the earth, we have wrestled with the fundamental questions of life, struggled to come up with a compelling narrative that will explain adequately to ourselves and our children where the world itself came from and what […]

Vayekeh (Deuteronomy 31:1-30)

28 Oct
October 28, 2013

It’s never easy to let go. Whether it’s letting go of a bad relationship, getting fired from a job or walking away from a lifetime of meaningful work to retire. Letting go is difficult. So imagine how Moses must have felt in this week’s Torah portion.

Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 22:9-30:20)

21 Oct
October 21, 2013

I was startled out of my sleep at 6:15 AM Tuesday morning by a phone call from my daughter, Gable, who is living just a ten-minute walk from the World Trade Center in New York. “Oh my God,” she cried into the phone, “I’ve just witnessed the most horrible scene of my life.” With those […]

Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

14 Oct
October 14, 2013

This week’s Torah portion is every rabbi’s dream – particularly at this time of year. Because every year as the High Holy Days grow near, almost every rabbi I know struggles with the spiritual dilemma of whether or not to use this rare opportunity when almost the entire congregation stands before them, to openly solicit […]

Ki Tetze (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)

07 Oct
October 7, 2013

When we are lucky, there are unexpected moments in life that suddenly present us with the opportunity to find out who we really are. This week was such a moment for 22-year-old Ascension Franco Gonzales, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who came to this country from Hidalgo with one goal in mind: to send back […]

Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:19)

01 Oct
October 1, 2013

We have begun the month of Elul and I can feel the spiritual pressure building already. Traditional Jews go to synagogue every day to pray, and every day they hear the sound of the shofar reminding them that this entire month leading up to Rosh Hashana and the ushering in of the most sacred season […]

Re’eh2 (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

28 Sep
September 28, 2013

I just got back last week from an adventure tour of Costa Rica that I took with my wife, Didi and my daughter, Gable. Over an intense four day period we crossed the country challenging the elements and stretching our own boundaries -flying a tiny plane to the Nicaraguan border; traveling in a small motor […]

Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

21 Sep
September 21, 2013

This week we discover one of the most powerful Biblical lessons in personal motivation and success ever written. It is also the source for the idea known as “free will.” God tells us, at the very beginning of the portion, “See I set before you blessing and curse – blessing if you obey the commandments […]

Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

14 Sep
September 14, 2013

Sometimes all of life seems like a test. Friendships drift away, loved ones die, we find ourselves fighting a serious illness or falling victim to corporate “downsizing” and either having our salaries cut or losing our jobs altogether. It’s remarkable how quickly even the most positive of people can suddenly find themselves haunted by questions […]

Vaetkhanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

07 Sep
September 7, 2013

If the entire Torah consisted of only this week’s portion, we would have all that is necessary to learn the most important spiritual and ethical laws of the entire Torah. For this week we are presented once again with the entire Ten Commandments (with a couple of slight changes from the original in Exodus) along […]

Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1- 3:22)

01 Sep
September 1, 2013

I was sitting in my study this week with a couple who have been members of my synagogue for over 35 years. They were recounting a recent experience they had when celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and it made me think about this week’s Torah portion.

Balak 2005 (Numbers 22:2-25:9)

28 Aug
August 28, 2013

Sometimes one of the hardest things in life is not to care about what other people think of me. When I was growing up throughout elementary school, I was the smallest kid in my class. We used to take class pictures by height, and I always stood at the end of the line. As a […]

Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9)

21 Aug
August 21, 2013

It was watching that lovely sixteen-year-old with both legs in bandages, struggling to take a few painful steps down the hallway of the hospital in Tel Aviv with her walker that got to me first. There I was last Monday afternoon, the first of four intense days in Israel on a “Fact Finding Solidarity Mission” […]

Masei (Numbers 30:1-36:13)

14 Aug
August 14, 2013

I had the opportunity this morning to participate at the Jewish Federation building in a live video-conference with Israel and listen to the perspective of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. He is the founder and Chief Rabbi of Efrat, a community of about 10,000 Jews located some 6 miles south of Jerusalem.