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Rabbi Jonathan Kligler

Love the Stranger as Yourself

When we hear “Love your neighbor as yourself” we generally think of “neighbor” as referring to the entire human family. The Torah, however, clearly considers two separate categories of people – neighbors and strangers – both of whom we need to treat with thoughtful care.

D'var Torah

Go to Yourself: Abraham and the Spiritual Journey

This week’s Torah portion begins with God’s dramatic call to Abram to go on a life journey that will change him forever. But this potential transformation comes with a price: to pursue this quest Abram and his wife Sarai must leave behind their home, the habitual, and head into the unknown.

D'var Torah

Choose Life!

Falling every year immediately before Rosh Hashanah, Moses’ final oration calls us across the generations to choose life. 

D'var Torah

The Inner Witness

Reflecting on a list of curses found in this week’s Torah portion, Rabbi Jonathan Kligler finds a message of conscience.

D'var Torah

Hagar the Stranger

To love the stranger represents an outrageous leap out of the typical moral economy, in which we do kindnesses and expect to be repaid in kind. In loving the stranger, we transcend self-interest.


Justice, Justice

“Justice, justice shall you pursue”: the rousing opening phrase of this Torah portion. But in a world filled with injustice, where do we begin?

D'var Torah

Open Your Hand

Parashat Re’eh contains a direct appeal for our generosity: “You must open, open your hand to the poor and to the needy in your land.” How will we respond to the call?

D'var Torah

Finding Your Voice

Embarking on a deep reading of the beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy, Rabbi Jonathan Kligler asks: is it better to be a vessel, or a conduit?

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The Inner Journey

The Book of Numbers ends with a recounting of the Israelites’ encampments during their 40-year desert journey. As Rabbi Jonathan Kligler explains, there’s more here than a geography lesson. 

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How Good It Is

In Parshat Balak, curses become blessings — or perhaps, questions that invite blessing.

D'var Torah

Healing the Crushed Spirit

On the verge of the Promised Land, the Israelites face a crisis of confidence that far too often mirrors our own experience.

D'var Torah

Are We There Yet?

Rabbi Jonathan Kligler examines this parasha’s escalating series of complaints and rebellions by the Israelites with an eye toward its lessons on a familial, social, and spiritual level.

D'var Torah

Everyone Counts

How are we to understand the census that opens the Book of Numbers? Rabbi Jonathan Kligler teaches that by counting everyone, we ensure that everyone counts. 

D'var Torah

An Eye For An Eye?

Phrases from the Torah such as “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” suggest a preoccupation with harsh justice. But as Rabbi Jonathan Kligler shows, our tradition radically transforms these words, weaving them into a fabric of deep compassion and human dignity. 

D'var Torah

Tzav: The Haftarah as Commentary

What do we make of the laws of sacrifice in Parashat Tzav? Rabbi Jonathan Kligler suggests that the associated prophetic reading from Jeremiah provides a compelling perspective.

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