d'Var Torah
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In this week’s Torah portion, we begin a new book, Ba-midbar – “In the Wilderness” – or as we call it in English, the Book of Numbers. Unlike its companion books in the Pentateuch, the themes and focus of Numbers are relatively … more
“Teach us to count our days rightly, that we may obtain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12   The essence of this verse from Psalms is reflected in countless Jewish blessings and teachings, encouraging movement through life with … more
Come, my children, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. … more
As the rabbi at Touro Synagogue, I frequently try to link the Jewish holidays to events in the synagogue’s long history. Passover is the holiday that most closely relates to Touro Synagogue. Passover is referred to as our time of freedom. We are … more
In the early years of his tenure as Temple Beth-El’s senior rabbi, William G. Braude was a hands-on activist in the community. Social action on behalf of those suffering social injustice was a core element of his rabbinate. But by the sixties … more
I remember sitting in my father’s car, waiting for him to return from visiting patients while I was trying to memorize the Four Questions for the Seder (or the Vier Kashes, as my parents called them in their Galitzianer Yiddish).  I had … more
In this week’s special Haftarah portion for Shabbat Parah, Ezekiel mandates rules for ideal behavior in the Temple. He regulates the sacrificial rites, assigns tasks among the priests and attempts to command orderly traffic patterns … more
As my feet crunch through the frozen snow, it’s hard to imagine that anything will wake up and start growing soon. Yet I am still hopeful, because in a few weeks we will celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the hidden awakening of the land. As I walk … more
Sometimes, people leave us unwritten messages. But they expect us to pick up on the cues and act on those messages. Rabbi Judah the Prince signaled an important message to us simply by the way he organized the Mishnah’s law collections … more
In both last week’s Torah portion, Shemot, and this week’s Torah portion, Va’era, God instructs Moses to go to Pharaoh and free the Israelite people from Egyptian bondage. Moses is afraid that Pharaoh won’t listen to him, and so … more
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