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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. DT Tetzaveh Schein

    What does the well-dressed Cohen Gadol (High Priest) look like? Quite resplendent, according to this week's Torah portion, Tetzaveh. Bearing on his chest the hoshen mishpat (breastplate of judgment) with twelve different minerals, each representing a different one of the tribes of Israel, the high priest is the living embodiment of the commandment of hidur mitzvah, beautifying the mitzvot that connect us to God.

    Halachic Clarification

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/holding-high-jewish-office-do-clothes-make-man

    Posted on: 2016/02/17 - 10:52am

  4. Eleh Ezakara - Sacrifice and Martyrdom

    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is never an easy day. Fasting, however, is not the real problem. Rather, the day's challenge comes from its demand that we confront deep spiritual, theological, and philosophical issues we would often wish to avoid. We are asked to consider, for example: the tension between sin and forgiveness, the relationship between suffering and redemption, and the emergence of hope out of tragedy. The prayers and readings of Yom Kippur demand that we meditate on these themes as personal challenges, but present them to us in grand images on a mythic scale.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/eleh-ezakara-sacrifice-and-martyrdom

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 10:10am

  5. Our Akeidah, Our Binding

    There is a thread running through all the Rosh haShanah portions, except one: that thread is fathers and children, mothers and children.

    The Akedah is the sole exception.

    Where are the mothers today? 

    This is an impressionistic reading of the Akedah.

    It does not explain the text.

    This is not the comfortable reading that, in praising our ancestor Abraham, gains credit for ourselves.

    This is not the reading that shows we are a people who have long put aside idolatry and child sacrifice.

    I have no comfort today, only questions.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/our-akeidah-our-binding

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 10:13am

  6. The Modern Meaning of Tisha b'Av

    The Jewish Memorial Day, The Fast of the Ninth of the Jewish month of Av, Tisha b'Av, marks the end of a three week period of mourning during which our people remember the series of events that led to the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of our people's first Temple on that date in the year 586 BCE.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/modern-meaning-tisha-bav

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 10:25am

  7. 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

  8. Pinhas DT on egal

    Towards the beginning of Parashat Pinhas, we read the story of the daughters of Zelophehad. After Moses instructs the people on the division of the Promised Land once they enter it he also informs them that the land will pass from father to son so that it will remain within the tribes. Upon hearing this the five daughters of Zelophehad confront Moses with the fact that their father died in the desert leaving behind only daughters. Given the new laws their land would be lost from their family.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/equal-god

    Posted on: 2016/06/15 - 2:25pm

  9. Transitioning Leadership - Pinhas DT

    One of the most difficult tasks faced by a community is the orderly transition of power from one leader to the next. Every nation, religious group, society, organization, and family inevitably faces the challenge of how to transfer allegiance and authority from the accepted leader to the appointed successor. 

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/transitioning-leadership

    Posted on: 2016/06/15 - 2:31pm

  10. Balaam Recognizes the One God - Balak DT

    This week's portion is called Balak, after the name of the Moabite monarch who sought to bring doom on the Israelites as they approached the end of their forty-year journey from Egypt to Israel.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/balaam-recognizes-one-god

    Posted on: 2016/06/15 - 2:36pm

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