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  1. Welcoming Strangers, Welcoming Angels

    B’shem Hashem elohei yisrael
    Miyimini Michael u’mismoli gavriel
    Umilfanai uriel um’akhorai refael
    V’al roshi, v’al roshi, shekhinat el.

    In the name of God, the God of Israel
    To my right is Michael, to my left is Gavriel
    In front of me Uriel, and behind me Rafael
    And on my mind, and over me, Shekhinat El

    —From traditional bedtime Shema, with my loose translation.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/welcoming-strangers-welcoming-angels

    Posted on: 2017/08/16 - 2:24pm

  2. Turning Memory Into Empathy: The Torah's Ethical Charge

    One of the Torah’s central projects is to turn memory into empathy and moral responsibility. Appealing to our experience of defenselessness in Egypt, the Torah seeks to transform us into people who see those who are vulnerable and exposed rather than looking past them.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/turning-memory-empathy-torahs-ethical-charge

    Posted on: 2017/08/16 - 4:05pm

  3. Melekh Ha-Olem DT Shoftim Eron

    Each time we pronounce a blessing, we are making a political statement. Within the introduction to every blessing are the words which declare that our Eternal God is melekh ha-olam, Sovereign of the Universe. Every time we express our gratitude for the opportunities and experiences life offers us, we also affirm our loyalty to God as our sovereign and acknowledge our citizenship in the Divine One’s dominion. In Hebrew this is called kabbalat ol malchut shamayim, accepting the yoke of the kingdom of heaven. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/melekh-ha-olam-sovereign-all

    Posted on: 2017/08/17 - 11:44am

  4. Justice, Justice - DT Shoftim Kligler

    This week’s Parsha, Shoftim, begins with this famous declaration:

    Tzedek, tzedek tirdof / צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף 

    Justice, justice thou shalt pursue.

    Deuteronomy 16:20

    This is one of the central declarations of the Torah, echoed in many other instructions. For example:

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

    Posted on: 2017/08/17 - 11:59am

  5. Returning Lost Objects - DT Ki Tetzey SCR

    When we are lucky, there are unexpected moments in life that suddenly present us with the opportunity to find out who we really are. I recall one such moment during my time as a rabbi in the Los Angeles area. It involved then-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 enough money to build a two-story cinder-block house for his parents.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/out-sight-not-out-mind

    Posted on: 2017/08/17 - 1:12pm

  6. It Just Isn't So! DT Eron Ki Tetzey

    There comes a point in the life of all faithful Jews when we face the fact that what the Torah says, just isn’t so. This does not occur when we see the differences between the ancient understanding of the origins and structures of the physical world and contemporary scientific knowledge. The Torah is not a science text book, but uses the knowledge of its time to illustrate the various ways in which God, the Creator, interacts with creation.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/it-just-isnt-so

    Posted on: 2017/08/17 - 1:15pm

  7. Honest Weights and Measures DT Eron

    Once, during the holy season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Hasidic master Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev, paused in his devotions and looking at his disciples with sad, tear-laden eyes, remarked, “What a funny world it is that we live in these days. There was a time, you know, when Jews would be scrupulously honest in the market place and be the most outrageous liars in the synagogue. These days, however, everything is reversed. The Jews are surprisingly honest in synagogue, but in the streets and market places, I’m ashamed to tell you.”

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/honest-weights-and-measures

    Posted on: 2017/08/17 - 1:17pm

  8. Ownership and Return DT Ki Tetzey Pik-Nathan

    This week’s parashah, Ki Tetzey, contains the greatest number of mitzvot/commandments of any Torah portion. The 72 mitzvot found in the parashah focus on everything from the treatment of captives, defiant children, lost animals and the poor through laws of inheritance, weights and fair weights and measures. This amalgam of mitzvot may seem random at times, yet there is a guiding principle that reminds us not to be indifferent to other people and the world around us.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/ownership-and-return

    Posted on: 2017/08/17 - 1:23pm

  9. Consequences - DT Ki Tavo

    When it comes to parenting, I confess to being a slow learner. I should know by know that my almost-seven year old does not respond well, in general, to declarations of causality. Despite this general self-awareness, whether due to stubbornness on my part or just plain fatigue, I still find them tumbling out of my mouth.

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

    Posted on: 2012/06/11 - 12:00am

  10. First Fruits - DT Ki Tavo

    This week’s parasha, Ki Tavo, includes within it a description of the intricate ritual the people were to engage in once settled in the Land of Israel. Moses commands them to place in a basket the first fruits of their harvest and to present them to the priests at the Temple. While doing so they are to recite a formula recalling they were slaves in Egypt, liberated by God, and given the land whose first fruits they now enjoy.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/first-fruits

    Posted on: 2017/09/01 - 10:12am

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