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  1. Who Has The Authority To Change Judaism?

    In his well-known 1936 commentary on the Torah, popularly referred to as the “Hertz Humash”, Dr. J. H. Hertz refers to this week's Torah portion, “Korach”, as “The Great Mutiny”. Rabbi Gunther Plaut, writing in the Reform movement's recent commentary on the Torah, calls these chapters “The Rebellion of Korach, Dathan, and Abiram”. Dr. Jacob Milgrom, in the new commentary on the Book of Numbers published by the Jewish Publication Society, refers to this portion as the “Encroachment on the Tabernacle”. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/who-has-authority-change-judaism

    Posted on: 2016/06/15 - 3:36pm

  2. Why Did Korah Rebel? Korah DT

    The tale of Korah's rebellion at the beginning of this eponymous parsha is so compelling, that we are usually distracted from either delving farther in to its subsequent passages, or, more significantly, from questioning the rectitude of its outcome.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/why-did-korah-rebel

    Posted on: 2016/06/15 - 3:39pm

  3. The Reminder of Tzitzit DT Shelakh

    The parasha this week is Shelakh-Lekha. In this parasha Moses, at God's command, chooses one leader from each of the twelve tribes to serve as spies. Their mission is to enter the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, and to bring back a report to the people. “See what kind of country it is…..

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/reminder-tzitzit

    Posted on: 2016/06/15 - 3:43pm

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  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. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

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