Archive for category: Torah Commentaries

Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1-40:23)

21 Nov
November 21, 2014

There are moments when I suddenly glimpse the frightened, fragile child beneath the false bravado of an adult who has come to me for counseling, and my breaks with their pain and sadness. Indeed, there have been many moments when it seemed that the only response possible was to cry. This past week was one […]

Vayishlakh (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

14 Nov
November 14, 2014

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing that I do is offer a silent prayer of thanks for being alive. The traditional morning blessing (which I recite silently to myself in Hebrew while still lying in bed), says modeh ani lefanekha, melekh khai vekayam, she-he-khezarta bee nishmati bekhemla, rabba emunatekha – “I give […]


07 Nov
November 7, 2014

Ever since September 11th, most people I know have had a hard time sleeping at night. I keep hearing stories over and over again from people of all ages about how hard it is to fall asleep in the first place and then about waking up at all hours of the night, about nightmares that […]

Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3)

01 Nov
November 1, 2014

I remember how foolish I felt at first. There we were, my wife Didi and I, creeping around at midnight, quietly threading our way through low shrubs and overhanging trees where the beach met the foliage about twenty yards from the water. It was nearly pitch dark with only the light from the stars and […]

Toldot (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

28 Oct
October 28, 2014

I have three sisters. Two older and one younger. My youngest sister, Debbie, was born when I was eight years old. In the months leading up to her birth I remember clearly the anxiety I felt over the possibility that it might turn out to be a boy, and I might end up with a […]

Haye Sarah 2005 (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

21 Oct
October 21, 2014

One of the greatest blessings of being a rabbi is the privilege I so often have of being witness to the remarkable power of the human spirit. Being a rabbi, and particularly serving the unique community where I live and work given me the opportunity to be part of some of the most amazing collections […]

LekhLekha2 (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

21 Oct
October 21, 2014

I have often wondered, “Does a blessing have to be recognized as a blessing for it to count as a blessing?” Especially when I read this week’s Torah portion where we are introduced for the very first time to Abram and Sarah, the first Jewish family in history with the difficult challenge of finding out […]

Simhat Torah 2006/5767

14 Oct
October 14, 2014

HOW WE HANDLE ADVERSITY A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She didn’t know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time because it seemed that as soon as one problem […]

Hayey Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

14 Oct
October 14, 2014

I officiated at a funeral this week of a man who died somewhere around age 95. No one in the family is exactly sure of his age, but since he’d been celebrating his ninetieth birthday for the past five years, I figure it’s safe to assume that he was close to 95 one way or […]

About Rabbi Reuben

07 Oct
October 7, 2014


23 May
May 23, 2014

Revelation is a tricky thing. For Moses it took place at age 80 while standing in front of a burning bush. For Abraham it was in Haran at age 75 when he heard the voice of God telling him to take a different path from his ancestors and become a blessing to all the families […]

Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)

07 Mar
March 7, 2014

The words we find this week in chapter twenty of the Book of Exodus have undoubtedly influenced more individuals in the Western world than any other words in the entire Torah. They are called in Hebrew, “aseret hadibrot, “The ten utterances,” but most people know them simply as, “The Ten Commandments.”

Vaera (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

21 Dec
December 21, 2013

Names are very important. They have a power all their own. There are names that inspired revolutions and overturned entire civilizations. There are names that have struck terror into the hearts of all who heard them. And of course there are many who claim that the sweetest sound that a human being ever hears is […]

Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

14 Dec
December 14, 2013

Years ago when I was still working as a rabbi in New York I got a phone call from the president of the congregation in California where I had grown up. He informed me that their current rabbi would be moving to another pulpit at the end of the year and he wondered if I […]

Lekh Lekha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

14 Nov
November 14, 2013

My daughter is turning twenty-one this month, and it’s got me thinking a lot about the meaning we attach to different ages. Seems like this passage to adulthood ought to carry with it certain increased personal and communal responsibilities. Or perhaps, this time of transition from “pre-adulthood” to full membership in the adult community should […]