Torah Commentary

Parshat Shemot: Choosing awe over fear

By Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen The fiercest defense against tyranny may be the refusal to go along with its worldview. When a new Pharaoh arises who does...
Rabbi Craig Axler

Parshat Vayechi: Joseph’s lesson of forgiveness

By Rabbi Craig Axler The end of Parshat Vayechi portrays Joseph’s death scene: “Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years and...
Rabbi Sonya Starr

Parshat Vayigash: Looking at Egypt’s famine through the lens of COVID-19

By Sonya Starr This week’s Torah portion, a continuation of last week’s, is the story of Joseph’s brothers’ willingness to do anything, including emigrate, to...
Rabbi John Franken

Parshat Vayeshev/Chanukah | Looking past conflict to find holiness

By Rabbi John Franken The acclaimed new book, “War: How Conflict Shaped Us,” makes a fascinating argument. War, it says, is baked into humans like...

Chanukah | Kindling the Chanukah lights

By Rabbi Nochum Katsenelenbogen Chanukah, the festival of Lights, recalls the victory — more than 2100 years ago — of a militarily weak but spiritually...
Rabbi Andy Gordon

Parshat Vayetzei | Conquering fear, following dreams

By Rabbi Andy Gordon Jacob is on the run! His brother Esau is furious because Jacob stole his blessing. Jacob grabs his staff and flees...

Parshat Toldot: Isaac’s do-over adds justice to Abraham’s love

By Rabbi Alana Suskin A number of people are credited with the saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over...
Rabbi Ilan Glazer

Parshat Chayei Sarah: A wise old age

Rabbi Ilan Glazer Immediately following Sarah’s burial, the text tells us: “v’Avraham zaken, ba bayamim,” “Avraham was old, advanced in years.” Jewish tradition understands zaken...
Rabbi Etan Mintz

Parshat Vayera: Welcoming guests

By Rabbi Etan Mintz The parshah this week opens with the famous image of God appearing to Abraham as he sits at the entrance of...

Parshat Lech-Lecha: Honor thy father and mother

By Rabbi Tsvi Schur In this week’s parshah, Abraham is told to leave everything behind and travel where G-d directs him. The midrash tells us...