Thursday, May 30th, 2024

Haftarat Vaera: One of the Most Significant Challenges of Our Times by Gidon Rothstein

December 30, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts

Yehezkel 28;25-29;21 This haftarah is a complex piece of writing, with many themes, but one of its central concerns is how and when nations should see world events as connected to the hand of God, a question that figures prominently in our times as well. Many today instinctively recoil from the topic, since it is [...]

Parshat Vaera: Irreligious Fearers of God by Yaakov Bieler

December 30, 2010 by  
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An act that is categorized as motivated by the “fear of God”.                 During the course of the seventh plague, hail, the Tora makes reference to the “fearers of God” among the servants of Pharoah (Exodus 9:20). Apparently taking Moshe’s warning to heart that anything left outdoors was susceptible to destruction due to the impending [...]

Haftarat Parshat Shemot: Visions of Redemption by Gidon Rothstein

December 25, 2010 by  
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Isaiah 27;6-28:13, 29;22-3 In obvious parallel to the Torah reading, the haftarah discusses redemption, starting with the actual fact of the Jewish return and “rooting” in their Land, but focusing more on the (sometimes unpleasant) steps leading up to the redemption. For Jews stuck in Exile, the promise of return might itself be attractive enough, [...]

Parashat Shemot: The Exceedingly Humble Prophet by Yaakov Bieler

December 23, 2010 by  
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Moshe’s idealism trumps his self-interest.                 As soon as Moshe comes of age (Shemot 2:11),[1] he repeatedly displays a high level of selflessness.  Without thinking about his personal reputation, standing within Egyptian society, or necessity for anonymity as a political refugee, he saves a Jew from being flogged to death (2:11), another from being beaten [...]

Prophets of Today by Gidon Rothstein

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts, Philosophy

We are used to relegating prophecy to the past, the bygone days of Moshe Rabbenu, Yeshaya, Yirmiya, and to see their messages as our only avenue to knowing what God wants from us (beyond the world of Torah and halachah).  While even there, I think we miss how much those texts could tell us about [...]

Parashat Vayechi: Yaakov’s Legerdemain by Yaakov Bieler

December 15, 2010 by  
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                The next-to-last act of Yaakov’s life is to bless Yosef by way of his two sons, Ephraim and Menashe (Beraishit 48:9-20). As Yaakov places his hands on the heads of Yosef’s two sons to bless them, the Tora states, (48:15) “And he (Yaakov) blessed Yosef…”  Yaakov has already indicated in one way or another [...]

The Scholar-in-Residence Shabbat: Its Educational Benefits and Challenges by Erica Brown

December 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Education, New Posts

The scholar-in-residence Shabbat is often regarded as the crowning achievement of adult education committees in synagogues throughout the country. While synagogues of every denomination continue to offer weekly classes, the popularity of the scholar-in-residence weekend has become a distinct trend in congregational education. We all remember the days, not so long ago, when it was [...]

Haftarat Vayigash: Unity is the First Step by Gidon Rothstein

December 8, 2010 by  
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Ezekiel 37, 15-28 Like the weather, unity is easy to speak about, harder to actually affect or effect. One important contribution this haftarah makes to the conversation about unity is to give us a definition of the word, a sense of the kind of unity we ought to seek and can, with effort, bring about. [...]

Parashat Vayigash: Was Yosef’s Economic Policy Also a Social Policy? by Yaakov Bieler

December 6, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts, Tanach

                Once the years of plenty in Egypt, that were predicted in Pharoah’s two dreams (Beraishit  41:1-7, 25-32), are concluded, the years of famine begin (41:54). Not only does the lack of food affect the surrounding areas, including Canaan, but the residents of Egypt proper starve as well (41:55). While the measures imposed by Yosef [...]

From Our Archives: In Defense of Brain Death and Halakhic Organ Donation – Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman

December 5, 2010 by  
Filed under From Our Archives, Halakha, New Posts

In the recent report  written by the head of the RCA halakhic committee on the halakhic issues of brain death, the article emphasizes that contemporary medicine now recognizes that even after “brain death” has occurred, there continues to be much neurological activity.  The report then utilizes this information to claim that the medical criterion established by [...]

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