Torah Commentary

Rabbi John Franken

Parshat Bo: Facing the Pharaohs of every generation

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By Rabbi John Franken This week witnesses the dramatic growth of Moses from a timid shepherd reluctant to take on the most powerful tyrant on...

Parshat Shemot: Choosing awe over fear

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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...
Rabbi Alana Suskin

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

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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

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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

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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...