Torah Portion

Torah commentary provided weekly by the Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia.

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When Terror Reigns, It’s OK to Beseech God

When you know for certain that something is wrong, it doesn’t matter what stands in your way. To affect change, you must plow forward....
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Brotherhood’s Apex: Soviet Jewry March

Twenty-five years after freedom, our local Russian-speaking Jewish community remains strikingly separate — culturally, educationally, religiously and geographically. It’s time for Philadelphians to take...
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Who Is Israel? He Is a ‘God-Wrestler’

In this week’s Torah portion, a momentous event occurs. The patriarch Jacob is renamed “Israel,” and the Jewish people, as Jacob’s descendants, become the...
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Holding Up a Mirror to Our Own Journeys

This week, we continue making our way through Genesis, reacquainting ourselves with the foundational stories of our ancestors. This time it’s the compelling tale...
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The Secret Life of Letters

  If God wrote you a letter, would you read it? Well, God did, and you have. The letter is the Torah. For centuries, Jews...
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A Great Patriarch, Yes, but as a Parent?

Depending on how you look at it, Isaac, of all the Patriarchs, was the greatest. At age 37, says the Talmud, he allowed himself...
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Rebekah, Like Sarah, Known for Her Warmth

As I have been thinking about this Torah portion, Hurricane Sandy has come through Philadelphia, leaving us safe, but still without power in my...
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First We Do Charity, Then We Turn to Prayer

  He was an old man, frail, tired, and bereaved. News of Hitler's advancing army preoccupied him, and he was overwhelmed, if not broken, by...
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Opening Hearts to God Is a Lifetime Journey

This portion begins with a command: Lech Lecha, go forth. Twenty-seven years ago, a Jew who had been denied the opportunity to celebrate becoming...
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Noah Is No Abraham, but Isn’t He a Hero?

Imagine the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen facing off against Noah in the 1988 vice presidential debate. Noah might make a remark about the great patriarch Abraham,...