Sidrahs

Yitro

By Rabbi David Mitchell, February 5, 2015

I'm writing this as I approach the end of a three-month sabbatical. This time-out from my regular pastoral and congregational commitments has been immensely rewarding; not least for the opportunity to study, think and recharge.

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Beshallach

By Rabbi Jonny Hughes, January 29, 2015

The philosopher Albert Camus said that the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. Growing up, I always wondered how one could actually attain this sense of pure liberty.

As this week's portion begins, the Jewish people triumphantly march out of Egypt. Irrevocable emancipation, though, still hangs in the balance.

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Bo

By Gila Fine, January 22, 2015

The gods hate weakness. Khyan bit his lip, trying not to cry. The black mist around him was thick and dank. A palpable darkness. He lay huddled with his sister, shivering and hungry. They hadn't eaten in three, maybe four, days. "Mut, mut", his sister whimpered, but their mother never came. "Stop crying", scolded Khyan. "We must be strong.

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Va'era

By Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, January 15, 2015

Stress just isn't great for the human body and spirit. Common physical effects can include changes in eating or sleeping patterns, weakness, dizziness and even increased susceptibility to infection. Emotional manifestations will not be pleasant either. Stress creates a proclivity towards hostile or angry feelings, increased nervousness, anxiety and even depression.

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Shemot

By Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, January 8, 2015

Moses, raised in Pharaoh's house, finally grows up. He goes to out see his brothers, and the very first thing he sees is an Egyptian overseer striking a Hebrew slave. Turning this way and that, Moses strikes the Egyptian dead and buries him in the sand.

The very next day he goes out again.

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Vayechi

By Rabbi David Mitchell, December 31, 2014

When contemporary commentators focus on the titles of the weekly Torah portions in which Sarah and Jacob die, they emphasise the importance of Chayei Sarah (“the Life” of Sarah”) and Vayechi (“and he lived”). Their point is simple — it is how we live that ultimately counts, not how we die. Yet, as I see in my congregational work, having a good death is also important.

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Vayiggash

By Rabbi Jonny Hughes, December 23, 2014

They say that one parent can take care of ten children, but ten children cannot take care of one parent. In this week’s sidrah, when Judah makes an impassioned plea to the viceroy in Egypt (who turns out to be his brother, Joseph) to release Benjamin, he argues, “How can you not let him go? If his father finds out that he did not return, he will not be able to survive.”

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Mikketz

By Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, December 18, 2014

Dreams can sometimes be so powerful that they actually change us. Three such instances of dreaming feature this week. The first are the two dreams of Pharaoh. He dreams of the seven sturdy and seven thin cows that rise up out of the Nile. "Then Pharaoh awoke".

He immediately goes back to sleep and this time he dreams of the seven strong and seven weedy ears of grain.

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Vayeshev

By Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, December 11, 2014

In his monumental work on business management Good to Great, author James Collins illustrates the qualities of leadership that help average companies become superlative ones. "Level 5 leadership", as he classifies it, combines the paradoxical qualities of genuine personal humility and intense personal will.

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Vayishlach

By Gila Fine, December 4, 2014

He was born red. A violent shock of red hair covered his head, his forearms, his infant legs. A bad omen, said the midwife, and turned away from him to his crowning brother. The second-born was far more favourable. Fair and smoothed-skinned like his mother, timid and pious like his father; a much better heir. Yet he, Esau, would inherit the birthright.

He was a boy of the field.

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