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  1. Blessings and Curses DT Behukotai

    At the end of the traditional Birkat HaMazon, the Grace after the Meal, is a verse from the Book of Psalms that reads, “Once I was young and now I have grown old but I have never seen a righteous person abandoned nor his children begging for food” (Psalm 37:25). It is one of a series of biblical verses acknowledging God as the one who sustains all. There are many ways to sing the verse but I was taught to drop my voice when I came to this passage and recite it in a whisper. Why?

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/blessings-and-curses

    Posted on: 2016/06/16 - 1:12pm

  2. Land DT Behar

    Parashat Behar is primarily concerned with rules and regulations pertaining to the land of Israel. We read the description of the laws governing the sabbatical (“Shmitta”) years in which the land was to lie fallow one out of every seven years. We learn of the idea of the Jubilee year, which occurred every fifty years, when property that had passed out of a family by reason of economic necessity reverted to the original owners.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/land

    Posted on: 2016/06/16 - 1:27pm

  3. An Eye For An Eye? DT Emor Kligler

    וְאִ֕ישׁ כִּֽי־יִתֵּ֥ן מ֖וּם בַּעֲמִית֑וֹ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֔ה כֵּ֖ן יֵעָ֥שֶׂה לּֽוֹ׃ שֶׁ֚בֶר תַּ֣חַת שֶׁ֔בֶר עַ֚יִן תַּ֣חַת עַ֔יִן שֵׁ֖ן תַּ֣חַת שֵׁ֑ן כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר יִתֵּ֥ן מוּם֙ בָּֽאָדָ֔ם כֵּ֖ן יִנָּ֥תֶן בּֽוֹ׃

    V’ish ki yiten mum ba’amito, ka’asher asah ken ya’aseh lo: shever tachat shever, ayin tachat ayin, shen tachat shen. Ka’asher yiten mum ba’adam, ken yinaten bo. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/eye-for-an-eye

    Posted on: 2017/05/05 - 11:34am

  4. It's Not Fair DT Emor SCR

    “It’s not fair!” I heard a child yelling at his playmate on the synagogue playground the other day. “It’s not fair!” And it reminded me how fundamental our innate sense of fairness and ethics truly is.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/its-not-fair

    Posted on: 2017/05/05 - 11:40am

  5. Illness and Connection - DT SCR Metzora

    It was one of those difficult weeks where nearly every day I received a phone call about either a sudden death in the community, or someone who had just discovered one form of cancer or another and was struggling with the “Why me?” question and the fear of death staring them in the face. It was also a week where I was reminded nearly every day of why Judaism places so much emphasis on the power of community as the foundation of our religious identity. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/illness-and-connection

    Posted on: 2017/04/24 - 4:39pm

  6. Finding Healing in Separation DT Metzora

    This week's parashah is Metzora. In this parashah we continue the laws concerning the person with tzara'at (skin afflictions). We were informed in the last parashah, Tazria, that the person suffering from skin afflictions (commonly but inaccurately translated as leprosy) is to be kept separated from the camp until the priest has determined that s/he is healed. The person is considered ritually impure and in danger of contaminating the camp both physically and spiritually. The Torah does not distinguish physical illness as separate from the religious realm.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/finding-healing-separation

    Posted on: 2017/04/24 - 3:34pm

  7. Life, Death and Holiness -- DT Acharei Mot / Kedoshim SCR

    This piece was written in 2002, during the second Intifidah. While the circumstances in question have changed, the teaching that emerged from them remains relevant today. 

    Tears and hope, fears and resolve, profound sadness and fierce determination – that is the mood in Israel this week. How ironic that this week’s double Torah portion is called “Akharey Mot/Kedoshim”, which translates as “After death — Holiness.” 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/life-death-and-holiness

    Posted on: 2002/05/01 - 12:00am

  8. Birth of Humility - Tazria DT SCR

    This week is one of the least popular bar or bat mitzvah portions in all the Torah. It is filled with laws for how to recognize and treat leprosy when it is found on one’s body, one’s clothes or in one’s home. Most kids are a bit squeamish about skin diseases, so they search for anything else in the portion that they might talk about. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/birth-humility

    Posted on: 2017/04/24 - 4:36pm

  9. Tamar and Judah DT Vayeshev

    There is so much wonderful meat for discussion in the Joseph story that it is easy to skip or skim the story of Judah and Tamar — or of Tamar and Judah — to get back to the next installment of Joseph in Egypt. Even when read with care, it is not an easy story. Briefly, Judah, fresh from telling Jacob that Joseph has been killed, marries a Canaanite woman and has three sons, the eldest of whom, Er, marries Tamar. Er is killed by God for some unstated fault.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/tamar-and-judah

    Posted on: 2017/04/21 - 12:11pm

  10. Strange Fire DT Shemini Steve Nathan

    Instead of a traditional d'var Torah on Parashat Shemini, I chose to write an original midrash about Nadav and Avihu. These two sons of Aaron the High Priest, after seeing Divine fire come down from heaven and devour the first sacrifice made in the newly-dedicated Mishkan (Sanctuary), decide to take matters into their own hands. They bring a “strange fire” before God, that God had not commanded them, and their punishment was to then be devoured by Divine fire.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/strange-fire-midrash

    Posted on: 2017/04/17 - 11:47pm

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