temple emanu-el
top border
Torah Commentary Blog

Temple Emanu-El’s Torah commentaries are prepared by members of our clergy, senior staff, Religious School faculty and Saturday morning Torah Study group. Blog comments are 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. If you are a temple member interested in joining our team of writers, contact Prince Davis.

Parashat R'eih (August 23, 2014)
By Rabbi Rena Y. Rifkin
TIME TRUDGES ON and even the biggest moments in our lives become small memories. It’s hard to remember all of the details and the feelings of those moments. We grow and change, and we move on. And as much as we want to hold those important moments in our consciousness every day, it is nearly impossible to do so.

Continue reading Rena’s commentary »

Post a comment/View comments » (1 comments)

Parashat Eikev (August 16, 2014)
By Bettijane Eisenpreis
NEVER PROMISE ANYTHING, whether it is an ice cream cone or a spanking, if you are not sure you can deliver it,” my father, Clinton Long, said frequently. I learned early in life not to ask him to promise me a ride in the country or a day at the beach, even if I were a very good girl. The best I could get was a “We’ll see.”

Continue reading Bettijane’s commentary »

Post a comment/View comments » (1 comments)

Parashat Va-et'chanan (August 9, 2014)
By Dr. Frederick S. Roden
IT’S HARD TO FORGET VA-ET’CHANAN, considering that here we find not only the Sh’ma and V’ahavta (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) but also a recitation of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:6-18). Va-et’chanan concerns the dangers of forgetting. We see the fullest realization of the sacred calling of the person of Moses: as teacher. This portion is preoccupied with futurity, the reality that the community will outlive Moses’ spiritual leadership. Moses, who wrestled with his vocation from the beginning (who was he to play an exalted role?), finally has become it so entirely that he must release it. In Va-et’chanan Moses names what must be remembered when he is no more. This is the secret to every great teacher: avoiding the idolatry that we are so necessary that our students cannot survive our departure. It is an affirmation of l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation, the confirmation of continuity in the face of our own mortality and the awareness that change can result in growth. The “mission of Israel” is bigger than Moses’ personality; he must step back, be prepared to let another lead. If he were to cling to the idolatry of self, Moses would devolve into a guru. Even so, in letting go, Moses must crystallize the essence of the message he’s been called to witness: the Oneness of a God of love.

Continue reading Dr. Roden’s commentary »

Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)

Parashat D'varim (August 2, 2014)
By Max Moss
UNLIKE THE PRECEDING BOOKS of the Bible, which were dictated directly by God, D’varim (“Words”) represents a revelation that Moses phrased in his own words. This might appear to be a disadvantage, for the words of God would be superior to any mortal’s. Still, it reached a high level of compatibility with the human mind.

Continue reading Max’s commentary »

Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)

Parashat Matot (July 19, 2014)
By Sherry Nehmer

The history of the Midianite people is interwoven with that of the Israelites. Midianites are related to Israelites through Abraham; his second wife (or some say concubine) was the mother of six boys, one of whom is the Midianite ancestor. Joseph was sold by this brother to Midianites. Moses spent his years of voluntary exile in Midian and took Zipporah, a Midianite woman, for his wife. In the parashah Pinchas, we learn of Cozbi, daughter of the Midianite chief Zur, who was speared by Pinchas together with Zimri, the son of a Simeonite chief whom she seduced. Midianite seductions of Israelites, in which the Israelite men begin to worship the Midianite god Baal-peor, are stated as an offense to God worthy of death.

Continue reading Sherry’s commentary »

Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)

Previous 5 Next 5
photo of temple
One East 65th St., New York, New York 10065. Phone  212-744-1400
One East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065    (212) 744-1400 horizontal rule Member Log In | Calendar | Site Map | Contact Us | Text Size [+] [-]