If we genuinely want to protect this planet from our trash and our emissions and, above all, from ourselves, just taking small steps towards sustainability is unfortunately quite insufficient.  We can’t just recycle and turn off the lights and buy Priuses, leaving dang...

In this week’s Torah reading, “Achrei Mot/Kedoshim”, we learn about many of the various laws which G-d tells the people of Israel they must observe once they enter the land of Israel. These laws range from a prohibition on cursing the deaf to one on wearing mixed fiber...

This week’s Torah portion begins with Moshe (Moses) commanding the Jews to observe Shabbat (the Sabbath): “On six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for G-d”.[1] Shabbat is a day of rest I have grown to appreciate m...

Ki Tisa

            After the sin of the golden calf, where the Jewish people created an idol to serve in place of G-d, G-d’s anger flares up against the Jewish people. But Moshe reminds Him that He made a promise to the Patriarchs: “I will increase your offspring like...

I remember as a young child being told that I couldn’t fulfill my mitzvah (commandment) of a Purim seudah (festive meal) without eating meat. However, as a vegetarian, I found myself very conflicted between my religious and personal ideals. Vegetarianism has been shown...

This week’s Torah portion focuses on the the miskan, or “dwelling” that was built in the desert, a holy place of prayer where G-d could dwell among the Jewish people. The instructions for building the Mishkan were very detailed, with an outline of 15 materials that sho...

January 5, 2018

             When I sat down to work on this d’var, I was struck by how timely this week’s parsha, Shemot, felt. In it, we read the story famously associated with Passover in which Pharaoh ordains the death of all first-born Israelite boys. This leads to baby Moses bei...

December 1, 2017

This week's Parsha (Torah portion) gives us the first-ever mention of the name "Israel". After Yaakov (Jacob) finishes preparing for his fateful reunion with his brother Esav (Esau), he is attacked by a mysterious man who he manages to defeat. The man turns out to be a...

November 22, 2017

In this week's Parsha (Torah portion), Yaakov (Jacob) ends up at the house of his uncle Lavan, partially in order to escape his brother's wrath and partially to find a wife. Lavan greets him with open arms at first--but after a month, puts him to work: “Just because yo...

November 17, 2017

There are three main stories in Parshat Toldot, amidst other details. The first main story is the twins’ birth and how their mother, Rivka (Rebecca), finds out that the younger son will succeed their older child.  Then years later, Esav sells his birthright for bread a...

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