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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Be Happy! DT Re'eh Mendelssohn

    “Remember the month of Aviv and keep the Passover…”. In Parashat Re’eh we are given a description of the three major pilgrim festivals, Pesakh, Shavuot, and Sukkot. These are the Ḥagim. “Ḥag” is a cognate of the Arabic word word “Haj”. Just as Haj to Mecca is a requirement for the Muslem (if one can afford it), so is the Ḥag to Jerusalem if one is a Jew. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/be-happy

    Posted on: 2017/08/11 - 2:39pm

  7. Open Your Hand DT Re'eh Kligler

    Pato’ach tiftach et yadcha l’achicha, l’aniyecha u’le’evyoncha b’artzecha

    כִּ֛י לֹא־יֶחְדַּ֥ל אֶבְי֖וֹן מִקֶּ֣רֶב הָאָ֑רֶץ עַל־כֵּ֞ן אָנֹכִ֤י מְצַוְּךָ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר פָּ֠תֹחַ תִּפְתַּ֨ח אֶת־יָדְךָ֜ לְאָחִ֧יךָ לַעֲנִיֶּ֛ךָ וּלְאֶבְיֹנְךָ֖ בְּאַרְצֶֽךָ׃

    You must open, open your hand to the poor and to the needy in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:11)

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/open-your-hand

    Posted on: 2017/08/11 - 2:24pm

  8. By Bread Alone? Ekev DT SCR

    Sometimes all of life seems like a test. Friendships drift away, loved ones die, we find ourselves fighting a serious illness or falling victim to corporate “downsizing” and either having our salaries cut or losing our jobs altogether. It’s remarkable how quickly even the most positive of people can suddenly find themselves haunted by questions of “Why me?” as their lives seem to undergo one blow after another. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/bread-alone

    Posted on: 2017/08/03 - 12:07pm

  9. Shabbat Naḥamu - DT Va'et'khanan Richard Hirsh

    The summer cycle of scriptural readings revolves around two sets of text. The first is the weekly cycle of readings which progresses through the final book of the Torah, Deuteronomy. The second is the ten week cycle of haftarot, or supplementary readings, selected from the writings found in the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, which orbit around the fast day of Tisha B’Av.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/shabbat-nahamu

    Posted on: 2017/07/28 - 10:41am

  10. Our Sustaining Hope - - Eron DT Va'et'khanan Nachamu

    The great miracle of Jewish survival is not that we survived great tragedies. It is that we survived as a community ever faithful to its vision of a better world for us and for all people and not as an angry and embittered tribe. 

    When we look at Jewish responses to the tragedies of our past, what emerges is that despite the great disasters, the unbelievable suffering, the unbearable pain, and the overwhelming sense of loss, we never believed that our God abandoned us. We never gave up hope. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/our-sustaining-hope

    Posted on: 2017/07/28 - 10:32am

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