Sidrahs

Vayeshev

By Rabbi Daniel Roselaar, December 3, 2015

In rabbinic literature Joseph is described as Yosef Hatzaddik, Joseph the Righteous, a high accolade which we are taught that he earned because of the way that he resisted the sexual advances of Potiphar's wife.

One of the questions that comes to mind when reading the episode is why was he so careless in leaving his shirt in his mistress's hand when he fled from her?

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Vayishlach

By Rebbetzin Lauren Levin, November 26, 2015

Cruel and relentless killings in Israel continue to shake us to the very core of our personal and collective being. In the freeze frame between the ominous portent of Jacob's invitation to Esau to journey ahead of him, and the future-shock identity of Esau as arch enemy (36:1), the parashah leaves us in uneasy limbo.

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Vayetze

By Rabbi Larry Tabick, November 19, 2015

No question: our biblical patriarchs and matriarchs had very dysfunctional family lives, despite their importance as our physical and spiritual ancestors.

Jacob's family is a case in point. His wives, who are also sisters, are in constant competition for his affections.

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Toldot

By Maureen Kendler, November 12, 2015

When we were introduced to Rebecca in last week's sidrah, she seemed remarkable: independent, active, generous, a role model. The brief insight we are given to her marriage to Isaac is a positive, loving one.

But this week she seems very different.

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Chayei Sarah

By Rabbi Mark Solomon, November 5, 2015

Rebecca had the longer journey, from Haran in northern Mesopotamia, but just as she is about to meet her husband-to-be Isaac, the Torah tells us he, too, has been on a journey.

The poetry of the verse, ba mi-bo be'er, suggests this journey has been significant for him, and indeed, this is the first we have heard of Isaac since he was almost sacrificed by his father, Abraham.

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Vayera

By Rabbi Daniel Roselaar, October 29, 2015

When God said that he was going to destroy the wicked inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham pleaded with him to spare them.

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Lech Lecha

October 21, 2015

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Noach

By Rabbi Larry Tabick, October 15, 2015

The story of Noah and the flood is a staple of Western civilisation. Everyone knows it, but what does it mean? It is a tale jam-packed with moral lessons, of course, but are there any spiritual lessons, too?

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Bereshit

By Maureen Kendler, October 8, 2015

This is the first of several biblical fratricides. Brothers in the book of Bereshit seem to live poised on the fault line of an explosive tension connected to covenant, family line and inheritance, with an urgency that can only end in attempted or actual murder.

It is remarkable how often these conflicts take place in the "field".

What is "the field"?

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Chol Hamo'ed

By Rabbi Jonny Hughes, October 1, 2015

The Declaration of Independence of the United States promotes "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Succot, referred to in the Torah reading for Chol Hamo'ed as a harvest festival, the Festival of Ingathering, is called zman simchateinu in our liturgy, the time of our happiness. More happiness than at any other time, says Maimonides.

So what is simchah? An absence of pain?

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