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  1. A D'var Torah for Tetzaveh - DT Eric Mendelsohn

    This Torah portion consists of the ordination of Aaron and his descendants as priests, vast descriptions of the vestments that the priest should wear, and the law of the half-shekel temple tax. This segment was probably rewritten in King Josiah's time, and again during the exile, and again upon the return to conform to what the priests were wearing at that time. Nothing in this parasha of direct relevance to Judaism, even to traditional Jewish practice, survived the destruction of the Temple, though Jews have chosen to dress the Torah in a mimicry of the priestly vestments.

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

    Posted on: 2017/03/29 - 12:28pm

  2. Symbolism of Rainbows - DT Noakh

    In this week's parasha our attention is focused on Noah and his family's experience in the ark. The flood has subsided and the doors of the ark have opened. God has commanded Noah to exit the ark and to release the animals back into the world. (Genesis 8:15-19) God next declares that such a wholesale disaster will never be caused by God again. A covenant is established and God seals it by placing a rainbow in the sky: “This is the sign that I set for the covenant between Me and you, and every living creature with you, for all ages to come.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/symbolism-rainbows

    Posted on: 2017/03/29 - 5:48pm

  3. Taking Down the Sukkah

    These days, it doesn't take me very long to put up my sukkah. When it was new, it took me a while to figure out how the parts fit together, but now I have it down to a science. I lay the poles on the ground and connect them one by one to make the frame. Then I hang the tarpaulins that form the walls and place the bamboo mat on the top for the roof. When that's all done, I ask the kids to come in and decorate it.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/taking-down-sukkah

    Posted on: 2017/03/29 - 5:55pm

  4. My Brother's Keeper DT Vayishlakh Eron

    Few conflicts are as significant in our lives as our struggles with those who are most close to us: the members of our family. Who we were, who we are and who we will become is most clearly seen in our relationships with our parents, our siblings, our spouses and our children. Our ability to move beyond our conflicts to an attitude of acceptance and affection is a measure of our growth as human beings. Our deepest felt experiences are those of familial love and loss, and alienation and reconciliation.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/my-brothers-keeper

    Posted on: 2017/03/29 - 7:01pm

  5. Jewish Values and Journalistic Ethics - Video and Transcript

    It is a fascinating time in the world of journalism right now; some might say unprecedented. With fake news proliferating and an antagonistic relationship between the White House and the press, the role of the media and factual reporting has never seemed more urgent. Can Jewish values inform the practice of journalism and journalistic ethics? Check out this conversation between Rabbi David A.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/video/judaism-and-journalistic-ethics-video-transcript

    Posted on: 2017/03/30 - 12:49am

  6. Danger of Religious Fanaticism - DT Vayekhi

    [Editor's note: This piece was written for Martin Luther King weekend several years ago, and refers to specific events occuring at the time it was written. However, its insights remain relevant over a decade later.]

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/danger-religious-fanaticism

    Posted on: 2017/04/05 - 2:56pm

  7. Shabbat Hagadol DT Howard Cohen

    The Shabbat before Pesach is known as Shabbat HaGadol: The Great Shabbat. The special nature of the day is highlighted with a haftarah selected from the prophet Malachi. The words of this anonymous prophet (the name Malachi simply means “my messenger”), who lived around the middle of the 5th century BCE, are remarkably contemporary sounding. A closer look at what he has to say can be simultaneously comforting and frightening.

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

    Posted on: 2017/04/05 - 4:47pm

  8. Strange Fire DT Shemini Steve Nathan

    Instead of a traditional d'var Torah on Parashat Shemini, I chose to write an original midrash about Nadav and Avihu. These two sons of Aaron the High Priest, after seeing Divine fire come down from heaven and devour the first sacrifice made in the newly-dedicated Mishkan (Sanctuary), decide to take matters into their own hands. They bring a “strange fire” before God, that God had not commanded them, and their punishment was to then be devoured by Divine fire.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/strange-fire-midrash

    Posted on: 2017/04/17 - 11:47pm

  9. Tamar and Judah DT Vayeshev

    There is so much wonderful meat for discussion in the Joseph story that it is easy to skip or skim the story of Judah and Tamar — or of Tamar and Judah — to get back to the next installment of Joseph in Egypt. Even when read with care, it is not an easy story. Briefly, Judah, fresh from telling Jacob that Joseph has been killed, marries a Canaanite woman and has three sons, the eldest of whom, Er, marries Tamar. Er is killed by God for some unstated fault.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/tamar-and-judah

    Posted on: 2017/04/21 - 12:11pm

  10. Tzara'at and Selfishness DT Metzora Cohen

    Parshat Metzora deals with a peculiar condition called tzara’at that afflicts skin, surfaces of walls and clothing. This condition has long been erroneously translated into English as “leprosy.” However, tzara’at is not Hansen’s Disease, the clinical name for leprosy. For starters, the symptoms are not at all similar. Moreover, the rules associated with tzara’at do not make sense if the disease is contagious.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/tzaraat-and-selfishness

    Posted on: 2017/04/24 - 3:03pm

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