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  1. Pekudei DT Schein

    Traditionally, as we end a book of Torah, we both congratulate ourselves and resolve to study even more diligently in the future. We say hazak, hazak, v'nitkhazek: be strong, be strong, and strengthen one another.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/importance-vision

    Posted on: 2017/03/16 - 1:59pm

  2. Journeying from the Personal to the Communal - Vayakhel DT James Greene

    Up until this week’s portion, the Israelites are generally referred to as “b’nei Yisrael,” the Children of Israel. Only once had we been called, “beit Yisrael,” the House of Israel. It is with the completion of the Mishkan, the traveling sanctuary, that the people are generally called beit Yisrael, the House of Israel. We have been transformed from a people who share a common history, to a group of people who now share a common destiny.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/journeying-personal-communal

    Posted on: 2017/03/16 - 2:19pm

  3. Coming Together - DT SCR Vayak'hel

    Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan once taught that religious identity is based on the “three Bs” of believing, belonging, and behaving. Most religious traditions begin with a foundation of believing. Christianity, for example, is based in large measure on a belief in Jesus as the son of God, and the savior of human souls, on beliefs having to do with the nature of sin and salvation, and heaven and hell. Based on those beliefs, to be a good Christian requires certain behaviors that are the natural expressions of those beliefs.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/coming-together

    Posted on: 2017/03/16 - 2:26pm

  4. Vayikra DT SCR

    Sometimes I think that our Biblical ancestors were a lot wiser than we give them credit for. Every year when we get to this particular biblical book filled with graphic descriptions of animal sacrifices and offerings outlining in detail such rituals as the sprinkling of blood on the altar by the priests, along with a virtual “how to” manual for slaughtering a bull or a goat or a sheep and offering it up to God in a highly ritualized drama, most readers (myself included) begin to cringe.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/spiritual-tools-leviticus

    Posted on: 2017/03/23 - 8:14pm

  5. Drawing Close to Sacrifice - Vayikra DT Dannin

    When Adar comes in, our happiness is increased. But when Vayikra comes in, we feel as if the Promised Land of great stories and heroes is far, far away.

    Torah scholars through the centuries have tried to give us reasons to rejoice in these endless passages on the most minute and bloody details of sacrifices, but it is hard to say they have succeeded. Some point out that we are moving from a physical to a spiritual journey. After all, the book begins with the words “And God called.” Called - not just spoke.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/drawing-close-sacrifice

    Posted on: 2017/03/23 - 9:03pm

  6. Where Does the Spirit of Sacrifice Take Us - DT Vayikra Schein

    As we now begin our study of the book of Vayikra (Leviticus), we start with two observations:

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/where-does-spirit-sacrifice-take-us

    Posted on: 2017/03/23 - 9:10pm

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

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