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  1. DT Va'era Steven Carr Reuben

    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 the sound of his or her own name.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/naming-divine

    Posted on: 2017/01/11 - 4:39pm

  2. DT Vaykhi Steven Carr Reuben

    A woman in our congregation once came to see me with a heavy heart. Her son was soon to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. She told me a sad but unfortunately all too familiar tale of enmity and anger, silence and deep-seated hurt between members of her immediate family. How her mother hadn’t spoken to her brother in years, and her father hadn’t spoken to her sister in years, and neither the father nor the mother (both divorced now) had spoken to each other for years either.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/courage-and-forgiveness

    Posted on: 2017/01/11 - 4:25pm

  3. Vayigash - Plans

    When I was sixteen my family moved from Santa Monica to Sacramento. I had just finished my first year of high school and had been selected to play drums with the SAMOHI jazz band in the Hollywood Bowl (which I did the night before we moved). I was certainly not looking forward to leaving behind all my friends and everything I had grown up with to move to a strange new place where I knew no one. But my dad had a new job, so move we did. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/if-i-had-only-known-parashat-vayigash

    Posted on: 2016/12/22 - 11:59am

  4. Kaplan on Creation DT Bereyshit

    The account in Genesis is perplexing to the modern person. We inevitably get bogged down with the first chapter of the Bible because it seems to conflict with our knowledge that comes from the scientific study of the natural world. Mordecai Kaplan being the modern man par-excellence accepted the scientific view of the universe but realized, of course, that the Torah has a different perspective in telling us about the origin of things. In this selection he focuses on the connection between the creation of the world and God's attention to Israel.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/kaplan-creation-explanation-jewish-mission

    Posted on: 2016/08/22 - 10:05pm

  5. Nachshon - Jump vs. Pushed DT Bemidbar

    At first glance this week's parashah, Bemidbar, seems rather tedious. After all, it consists mainly of the names of the heads of all the tribes, given in the context of a census of the Israelites taking place about a year after the events at Mount Sinai. However, one name in the census jumped out at me: Nachshon ben Aminadav, the head of the tribe of Judah. Nachshon is a very famous character in the Midrash even though he is barely mentioned in the Torah.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/nachshon-did-he-jump-or-was-he-pushed

    Posted on: 2016/06/16 - 1:07pm

  6. Marriage - Bemidbar/Shavuot DT

    Shabbat Bemidbar usually falls near Shavuot: the day designated as the anniversary of the revelation of Torah at Mt. Sinai. According to a midrash Shavuot is like the wedding anniversary of God and the Jewish people. In Exodus as the revelation unfolds, the position of the Israelites is described with a phrase: בְּתַחְתִּ֥ית הָהָֽר/betakhtit ha-har, which figuratively means “at the base of the mountain” but literally means “under the mountain”. To explain this the rabbis said that Mount Sinai was held over the Israelites like a wedding huppah.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/covenant-marriage

    Posted on: 2016/06/16 - 12:53pm

  7. The Nazirite - DT Naso

    Jewish tradition teaches that the Torah yields 613 commandments, which are incumbent on the Jewish people. One would think that this daunting total would be sufficient for most Jews, yet this week's Torah portion, Naso, teaches of additional regulations which one could assume under the status of being a “Nazirite”, one consecrated to the service of God. The haftara (additional) reading for this Shabbat narrates the story of Sampson, who according to the Bible was himself a Nazirite. 

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

    Posted on: 2016/06/16 - 11:29am

  8. The True Honor - DT Naso

    This week's Torah portion, Naso, concludes with the lengthy and detailed listing of the twelve identical offerings that the chieftains of the twelve tribes of Israel brought to the newly dedicated Mishkan, the portable shrine that served as our people's holy place from the early years of the desert wandering until Solomon's construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Torah goes to great pains not to discriminate among the twelve tribes and their leaders. Each tribal leader is mentioned by name. Each gift is meticulously and identically described.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/true-honor

    Posted on: 2016/06/16 - 11:26am

  9. Be Careful What You Wish For - DT Behaalotcha

    It seems to come from nowhere: a craving—perhaps to devour ice cream, to gossip, to mindlessly watch TV, to have sex, or to make fun of another person. Ah, it's a long list—all the urges in our lives!

    Sudden and strong impulses can be confusing. If what I long for may not itself be bad, then why deny it? Or, if my craving is in fact harmful, why do I feel like doing something I will regret later? On one hand, shouldn't I celebrate my true feelings? On the other hand, shouldn't I be ashamed of feeling this way?

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/be-careful-what-you-wish

    Posted on: 2016/06/16 - 11:18am

  10. Just A Little Prayer Will Do - DT Behaalotcha

    Shortly after our ancestors left Egypt, they found themselves standing on the shore of the Red Sea, caught between the rapidly approaching Egyptian army and the seemingly impassable waters. Moses, understanding our people's plight, turned to God in prayer. Instead of answering Moses' prayer, God rebukes him with the question, “Why are you crying out to me?” (Exodus 14:15) 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/just-little-prayer-will-do

    Posted on: 2016/06/16 - 11:15am

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