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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  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. Shabbat and Holiness DT Bereyshit

    This week's parashah is the first in the Torah, Bereyshit. We are all familiar with the story of the creation that we read in these chapters of the Torah. However, the narrative still raised many questions for our rabbis and scholars. One of the many issues debated by the rabbis is the timing of humanity's creation in relationship to Shabbat. Rashi (12th century France) believed that God created Adam right before Shabbat so that he could immediately enter the holy and peaceful realm of Shabbat.

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

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

  6. DT Naso Toba Spitzer

    (Originally published in Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible)

    A number of years ago, Pride Weekend in Boston fell on the Shabbat of Parshat Naso. Preparing my d’var Torah for Shabbat morning services that week, I wondered, what might this portion have to teach about GLBT pride?

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/impurity-blessing

    Posted on: 2016/11/17 - 1:34pm

  7. Tazria Metzora Story - Gift of Impermanence

    “Orit!” “Ori-i-i-t!” Her mother was calling, but Orit was preoccupied. “Orit Rivkah bat Mushi!” shouted her mother—the use of her full name indicating a growing consternation. “Where are you?!”
     

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/gift-impermanence-story-parashat-tazriametzora

    Posted on: 2016/11/29 - 3:35pm

  8. Arlene Berger Vayetzey - A Seasonal Hint

    I always think of this time of year as a time of transition. The trees are almost finished shedding their leaves and the air is charged with the smell of winter. We ourselves are transitioning from the vestiges of the High Holiday season of teshuva and gratitude to the modern world’s all too long season of consumption.  
     

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/seasonal-hint-jacob-didnt-ask-much-stuff

    Posted on: 2016/12/09 - 10:04am

  9. Miketz - Dreams

    “All dreams follow the interpreter.” Talmud, Berakhot 55b 

    Everyone has dreams. Some of us dream of heights we intend to scale, battles we intend to win, glories we intend to capture. Some of us dream of love, or riches, or fame, or the quenching of our deepest desires. Some dreams are vast, and deep, and dramatic, and others are simple, and quiet, and modest. But regardless of their size or nature, we all have had dreams that inspired our actions and gave a sense of urgency to our lives. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/stuff-dreams-are-made

    Posted on: 2016/12/22 - 11:55am

  10. 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

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