Sidrahs

Tazria-Metzora

By Felicia Epstein, April 23, 2015

Why does this sidrah, which details the purification process for women after childbirth, repeat the law of male circumcision? We have already learned about the law of circumcision in Genesis with Abraham.

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Shemini

By Rabbi David Mitchell, April 17, 2015

It’s about this point in the annual Torah cycle that, as a long-term vegetarian, I become increasingly uncomfortable. It is not just the laws in this week’s parashah concerning the consumption of meat and which species are permitted but also the gory Temple rituals involving flesh, blood, entrails and animal sacrifices.

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Eighth day Pesach

By Rabbi Jonny Hughes, April 8, 2015

Spring has never been quite the same for me after a trip I took a couple of years ago. I was accompanying a Jewish school's heritage visit to Poland. One of the places we visited was Auschwitz, which I expected to be depressing, but when you stare at the endless piles of shoes and suitcases, you are truly speechless.

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First day Pesach

By Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, April 2, 2015

Pesach marks the birth of our freedom. The Egyptian firstborn are dead. Now, Pharaoh says, "Get up and go." We had unbaked dough on our backs, but we also took away armfuls of Egyptian gold and silver.

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Tzav

By Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, March 26, 2015

Minding Ps and Qs, having good manners and generally trying to avoid the impression of being "born on a bus" are what good parents try to teach their children. Society as well puts a heavy emphasis on civility.

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Vayikra

By Felicia Epstein, March 19, 2015

The Book of Vayikra, which is known as the Law of the Priests, opens with Moses addressing the entire Jewish people about the laws of sacrifices - laws seemingly relevant only to the priestly class.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei

By David Mitchell, March 12, 2015

It is said that Michelangelo could look at a quite ordinary block of marble and see within it something exceptional - an exquisite statue of Moses, David or even Apollo.

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Ki Tissa

By Rabbi Jonny Hughes, March 5, 2015

There is a certain group of Hindus who shave their heads in acknowledgement of thanks to one of their deities. The temple collects the hair and sells it to wig manufacturers. Several years ago, leading rabbis of the generation asked whether Jewish women's sheitels (wigs) made from such hair were prohibited.

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Tetzaveh

By Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, February 26, 2015

This is the Shabbat before Purim. Haman, the epitome of evil and sworn enemy of the Jews of the Book of Esther, is a descendant of the Amalekite King Agag. This is why we read two short verses from Deuteronomy this Shabbat, commanding us to "Remember Amalek… and to wipe out his memory". Does this mean that Haman was genetically programmed to hate us?

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Terumah

By Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, February 19, 2015

As an American, I grew up with the legend of Johnny Appleseed. More myth than man, he was accredited during the early 1800s with the dissemination of apple seeds across the expanse of Middle America, contributing to both a boon in fruit as well as promise for the emerging country.

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