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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 Vayeitzei (November 24, 2012)
By Missy Bell
IN THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION, Vayeitzei, Jacob receives a blessing from his father, Isaac, and then leaves his family home in Beersheva to seek a wife. During one night of his journey, he goes to sleep and dreams of a ladder that goes up to heaven. He sees angels going up and down the ladder. Then, he sees God beside him. God blesses Jacob, offering him and his future children the land around him. God tells Jacob that God will remain with him throughout his life. When Jacob wakes up from this dream, he says, “Surely God is in this place, and I did not know it!” (Genesis 28:16)


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Parashat Tol'dot (November 17, 2012)
By Prince H. Davis
IN THIS WEEK’S parashah we encounter the story of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob. Interestingly, after the transaction, the Torah tells us that Esau scorned and belittled the birthright. The fact that he sold it for a bowl of lentils proves that the birthright was of little value to him. Why then, after the sale, does the Torah recount that Esau scorned it?

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Parashat Chayei Sarah (November 10, 2012)
By Sherry Nehmer
THIS WEEK’S PORTION, Chayei Sarah, is literally the “Life of Sarah,” but in my family, it turns out to be a little bit about the life of my father, Stanley Nehmer.

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Parashat Vayeira (November 3, 2012)
By Rabbi David M. Posner
AT THE CONCLUSION of last week’s parashah, we encounter — for the very first time — the practice of b’rit milah…circumcision. And when we think about b’rit milah, we conjure up images of a new life, a new beginning and a fresh start. Our parashah this Sabbath begins when Abraham our Father — Avraham Avinu, who was 99 years old — had just had a b’rit milah.

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Parashat Lech L'cha (October 27, 2012)
By Abra Lee
LAST SHABBAT, we read the story of Noah. He is chosen by God for his righteous ways among the men of his time to survive the great flood and replenish the earth once the flood waters clear. Ten generations pass without another instance of God speaking directly to humankind, until finally we encounter an exchange between God and our ancestor Abram. God, too, chooses him for his unique qualities among his generation, for in a society that believed in worshiping idols, Abram was a monotheist, worshiping and serving only one God.

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