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Torah Commentary Blog

Temple Emanu-El’s weekly Torah commentary is prepared by members of our clergy, senior staff, Religious School faculty and Saturday morning Torah Study group. An electronic version can be sent to your email inbox each Monday morning by subscribing to our electronic mailing list. Blog comments will be moderated. Please note that we reserve the right to delete comments that are deemed inappropriate, use offensive language, promote personal attacks or are self-serving (promote goods and services). At the same time, we hope that this blog will promote thoughtful dialogue and continued learning.

Parashat Ki Tavo (September 24, 2016)
By Bettijane Eisenpreis
A TREASURED PEOPLE?

When I was in high school, I used to go over to my great-aunt Fanny’s house on Saturday afternoons. Fanny was “at home” on Saturdays, entertaining anyone who came by with tea and cake and lots of stories of the “good old days.” Fanny was a local character, and her stories frequently were very entertaining. Another reason I went was that my high school football games were on Saturday afternoons, and I rarely had a date.

Continue reading Bettijane’s commentary »



Sunday September 18th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


Parashat Ki Teitzei (September 17, 2016)
By Jackie Schreiber
KI TEITZEI IS A PARASHAH FILLED WITH MITZOT. We are not necessarily expected to fulfill each one of these mitzvot, particularly because some are rather circumstantial. However, the humanistic values and themes that come out of this portion remind us about our obligation to help others around us, even when it feels like we must go out of our way to do so.

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Sunday September 11th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


Parashat Shof'tim (September 10, 2016)
By Saul Kaiserman
JEWS HISTORICALLY HAVE HAD an uneasy relationship with the idea of monarchy. Our experience has taught us that we have good reason to distrust tyranny in any form. For every Alexander or Darius who championed our liberty, there was a Pharaoh, Ferdinand or Antiochus who enslaved, exiled or subjugated us. Even when we ruled ourselves, as under Herod the Great, our sovereigns all too often used their power for personal gain or to advance their political interests.

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Sunday September 4th | Post a comment/View comments » (2 comments)


Parashat R'eih (September 3, 2013)
By Rabbi David M. Posner
IN THE VERY FIRST WORDS of the sidrah R’eih, Moses challenges the people as he sounds one of the great and recurrent themes of Deuteronomy — and that is, we are free to choose, and our choices have lasting consequences: “See, this day, I have set a blessing and a curse before you.”

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Sunday August 28th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


Parashat Eikev (August 27, 2016)
By Bettijane Eisenpreis
NO MERCY

Even in normal times, the above quotation from Deuteronomy would be cringe-inducing. There’s no doubt about it: God tells the Israelites to destroy all the inhabitants of the Promised Land. Never mind that it didn’t happen. Never mind that this probably was written when the reverse was taking place: The inhabitants of the countries where Jews lived were intent on destroying them. Still, the instructions are clear: The Israelites are to show no mercy to “the peoples that the Lord your God delivers unto you.”

Continue reading Bettijane’s commentary »



Sunday August 21st | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


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