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  1. The Ascending Heart - DT Tzav Schein

    A colleague of mine once summarized the inner power of Judaism in the following way: Judaism challenges us “to ethicize ritual, and ritualize ethics.” Last week in this column we had a chance to explore what might be problematic in 20th/21st century Jewish life when ethics were stripped of ritual richness. This week, in parashat Tzav we see the opposite dynamic at work: the ethicizing of ritual.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/ascending-heart

    Posted on: 2017/03/28 - 3:52pm

  2. The Eternal Flame Within Us All - DT Tzav Berger

    A Jew walks into a synagogue and looks around. What can s/he expect to see? An area for prayer that includes an ark that contains at least one Torah; perhaps a table, a bima, in front of the ark as a focus area for the prayer service and the Torah reading; and finally, a light, either attached to the top of the ark in some way or hanging from the ceiling.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/eternal-flame-within-us-all

    Posted on: 2017/03/28 - 4:06pm

  3. Tzav: The Haftarah as Commentary - DT Kligler Tzav

    Va’yedaber YHVH el Moshe leimor: Tzav et Aharon v’et banav leimor: Zot torat ha’olah…

    And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: Command Aaron and his sons thus: These are the instructions for the burnt offering…

    (Parashat Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-2)

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/tzav-haftarah-commentary

    Posted on: 2017/03/28 - 4:10pm

  4. Jewish Continuity and the origins of "Ben Hur" - DT Beshalakh

    This week's parasha — Beshalakh — is overloaded with material: the pursuit, the crossing of the Sea, the Song of the Sea , the Song of Miriam, the travels in the desert, and the battle with Amelek. It has two sets of bad role models at each end — in the beginning, Pharaoh and his advisors advise who him to pursue.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/jewish-continuity-and-origins-ben-hur

    Posted on: 2017/03/29 - 10:18am

  5. Where is God in This?

    “I’ve hit a wall,” a spiritual direction client recently said to me. “I want to discern God’s presence more frequently.”

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/news/where-god

    Posted on: 2014/07/22 - 12:00am

  6. A D'var Torah for Tetzaveh - DT Eric Mendelsohn

    This Torah portion consists of the ordination of Aaron and his descendants as priests, vast descriptions of the vestments that the priest should wear, and the law of the half-shekel temple tax. This segment was probably rewritten in King Josiah's time, and again during the exile, and again upon the return to conform to what the priests were wearing at that time. Nothing in this parasha of direct relevance to Judaism, even to traditional Jewish practice, survived the destruction of the Temple, though Jews have chosen to dress the Torah in a mimicry of the priestly vestments.

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

    Posted on: 2017/03/29 - 12:28pm

  7. Is God to Blame When Bad Things Happen? JJS

    Often enough, I run into people who report that their faith in God was shattered when something terrible happened. If there is a God, they ask, how could He let such things happen?

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/news/god-blame-when-bad-things-happen

    Posted on: 2014/09/01 - 12:00am

  8. Asking for Help - JJS

    It can be extremely difficult to ask for help.

    Contemporary Western secular culture prizes autonomy and self-reliance. From a very early age, we are taught that it is better to be independent than dependent, so that corporations have to train their employees to work cooperatively and interdependently.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/news/asking-help

    Posted on: 2014/01/29 - 12:00am

  9. Waiting for the Messiah - JJS

    I was in my mid-twenties, delivering an “Introduction to Judaism” talk to a group of fraternity brothers at Lafayette College, when I first heard the question: Jewish people don’t believe the messiah has come? The young man, who identified himself as a member of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, lingered long after the program ended to try to understand what that meant. He could not imagine how one could live in such a state.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/news/waiting-messiah

    Posted on: 2014/01/10 - 12:00am

  10. Symbolism of Rainbows - DT Noakh

    In this week's parasha our attention is focused on Noah and his family's experience in the ark. The flood has subsided and the doors of the ark have opened. God has commanded Noah to exit the ark and to release the animals back into the world. (Genesis 8:15-19) God next declares that such a wholesale disaster will never be caused by God again. A covenant is established and God seals it by placing a rainbow in the sky: “This is the sign that I set for the covenant between Me and you, and every living creature with you, for all ages to come.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/symbolism-rainbows

    Posted on: 2017/03/29 - 5:48pm

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