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Torah Commentary Blog

Temple Emanu-El’s weekly Torah commentary is prepared by members of our clergy and senior staff. An electronic version can be sent to your e-mail 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.

Passover (April 4, 2015)
By Cara L. Glickman
THIS WEEK WE CELEBRATE Passover on Shabbat, and we will read the Torah Portion marking Passover. The portion reminds us that the Israelites left Egypt quickly. Their bread never rose because of the rush, creating the matzah we traditionally eat during the Passover holiday today. The group left Egypt and traveled in the desert for more than 40 years. This was enough time for the former slaves to become free people in body and in spirit.

Continue reading Cara’s commentary »



Sunday March 29th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


Parashat Tzav (March 28, 2015)
By Rabbi Benjamin J. Zeidman
IT IS NOT MERE COINCIDENCE that we read Tzav this time of the year. We’ve turned our clocks forward, and Passover is just around the corner. We read this week: “The priest shall dress in linen raiment with linen breeches next to his body; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar.” (Leviticus 6:3) It’s time for spring cleaning!

Continue reading Rabbi Zeidman’s commentary »



Sunday March 22nd | Post a comment/View comments » (1 comments)


Parashat Vayikra (March 21, 2015)
By Jennifer Knobe
THE BOOK OF VAYIKRA MEANS, “And He called.” Vayikra is the first Hebrew word of the book, which begins by saying, “And the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from inside the tent of meeting.” (Leviticus 1:1) The Book of Leviticus focuses on the ritual in the Mishkan, the Tabernacle in the desert. By the end of the previous book, the Book of Exodus, the Tabernacle is completed and filled with the divine presence of God. The central ritual that takes place within the Tabernacle, the regular offering of sacrifices, is now the first order of business.

Continue reading Jennifer’s commentary »



Sunday March 15th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


Parashat Vayak'heil-P'kudei (March 14, 2015)
By Missy Bell
THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION (actually two portions, Vayak’heil and P’kudei) is devoted to the building of the Mishkan — the Tabernacle. In the beginning of the portion, Moses instructs the Israelites of the types of materials needed for the Tabernacle and that all “generous-hearted” people should bring these things for building it. Throughout the rest of the portion, the Israelites are bringing gifts for the Tabernacle, and then those with various skills build the Tabernacle out of these gifts.


Continue reading Missy’s commentary »



Sunday March 8th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


Parashat Ki Tisa (March 7, 2015)
By Saul Kaiserman
WE BEGIN THIS WEEK’S PORTION — the longest in the Torah — at the end of Moses’ 40 days atop Mount Sinai. While God inscribes with a finger two stone tablets, the Israelites at the foot of the mountain plead with Aaron to “make for us a god who will go before us because this Moses — the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt — we do not know what happened to him.” There are many other moments in their homeless wanderings when the Israelites lose hope, complaining that they were better in Egypt. This time, however, they do not long for a return to the security of slavery. The Israelites remain committed to the dream of a new home in the Promised Land. They want to resume their travels but are neither capable of continuing the journey nor to patiently and confidently await Moses’ return.

Continue reading Saul’s commentary »



Sunday March 1st | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


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