Chayei Sarah

By Rabbi Nancy Morris, November 20, 2008

"He had scarcely finished speaking, when Rebecca...came out with her jar on her shoulder. The maiden was very beautiful" Genesis 24:15-16

There is no doubt that beauty is a valued quality in women in the Torah. It is, however, fascinating how lacking the Torah is in physical description of "beautiful" women. Often, we have no idea what they look like. Scratch a little deeper and we must conclude that the Torah has rather interesting notions about what constitutes beauty in a woman.



By Rabbi Yoni Sherizen, November 13, 2008

"And Abraham stepped forward and said: ‘Will You also wipe away the righteous with the wicked?'" Genesis 18:23

A Jewish student recently returned from extensive volunteering in Uganda and proudly reported that a surprisingly high percentage of the aid and relief leaders came from Jewish roots. I was pleased to hear this news but wasn't terribly surprised as we have always been a people that confront challenges with little fear or shame.


Lech Lecha

By Rabbanit Chana Henkin, November 6, 2008

Infertility is one of the most painful trials a couple can face. Thankfully, modern medicine has bestowed the blessing of children upon countless families, and one source of infertility affecting Jewish couples - a woman's conception date preceding her mikveh date - is being dealt with effectively today by Nishmat's yoatzot halachah (women halachic advisers). But Sarai did not have recourse to modern solutions and, like so many women since then, she blamed herself for her childlessness.



By Rabbi Chaim Weiner, October 30, 2008

"All on Earth had the same language and the same words" Genesis 11:1

People working together on a building project - what's wrong with that? Why destroy the tower of Babel and punish those who wished to build it? Don Isaac Abravenel was the leader of Spanish Jewry at the time of the expulsion from Spain. He scaled the ladder of success many times, and saw it all end in failure. He has a unique understanding of the fall of this tower.



By Rabbi Daniel Levy, October 23, 2008

"Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel"
Genesis 4:1

How much is really enough? Cain was the master of agriculture - real estate and property. Abel, having declined to work the land, for it had been cursed, was an expert shepherd - commodities and tradable assets.

The entire planet earth lay before them. Each was ready to build financial dynasties for the rest of mankind. All descendants would either be from the real estates and property family (Cain) or the commodities and tradable assets family (Abel).



By Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz, October 6, 2008

"My lesson shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as rains upon the grass, and as showers upon herbs" Deuteronomy 32:2

The midrashic anthology, the Yalkut Shimoni, commenting on the above verse, says that one should gather the words of Torah just as rain is gathered into a pit. In order to teach Torah to others, it is not sufficient to posses a partial knowledge or sparse understanding of Torah.



By Dr Diana Lipton, September 29, 2008

"Take this Sefer Torah and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, your God, and let it remain there as a witness be'cha" Deuteronomy 31:26

In a powerful photograph displayed at the Ellis Island immigration museum in New York City, a young boy stands on the deck of a ship just arrived from Eastern Europe at the turn of the century. In his arms is a Sefer Torah, the ultimate guarantor of continuity in uncertain times.



By Johnny Solomon, September 22, 2008

"Not with you alone do I make this covenant and this oath, but with whoever is here, standing with us today... and with whoever is not here with us today" Deuteronomy 29:13-14

On the last day of his life, Moses gathered the entire people to remind them of their responsibilities towards God, each other and future generations. Yet in order to understand what he said, we must refer back to another time when the whole people stood together.


Ki Tavo

By Rabbi Daniel Glass, September 16, 2008

"And all these blessings will come upon you and overtake you" Deuteronomy 28:2

This world does not seem to be a place where the good are rewarded and the bad receive their "just desserts".


Ki Tetzei

By Maureen Kendler, September 9, 2008

"And you see among the captives a woman of fair appearance, and you desire her and want her for a wife, then you shall bring her home to your house" Deuteronomy 21: 11-12

V Ki Tetsei concentrates on the rights of the disadvantaged who must be afforded dignity and protection. Women, orphans, slaves - even hanged criminals - fall into this category.