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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 Yitro (February 2, 2013)
By David Mintz
WITH AN EAGER NATION gathering beneath it, a foreboding mountain was covered with smoke, trembling violently as the blasts of the shofar were heard and giving way to the moment of Divine revelation. This moment of revelation is considered among the most significant and defining events in our biblical history. However, our rabbis and teachers over multiple generations and religious denominations have continued to argue about how to understand this pivotal moment.

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Parashat B'shalach (January 26, 2013)
By Saul Kaiserman
THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION includes one of the oldest songs you’ll find that still is sung regularly today. The Mi Chamocha prayer, a critical part of every morning and evening service, first appears in the Song of the Sea, ascribed to Moses and the Israelites upon crossing the Sea of Reeds and escaping Egyptian slavery forever. Considered by scholars as one of the most ancient texts appearing in the Bible, Exodus describes first Moses leading the Israelites in song and then Miriam and the women joining in, dancing and playing drums. For thousands of years, commentators have debated the form that this singing took, implying different styles both of worship and of leadership.

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Parashat Bo (January 19, 2013)
By Abra Lee
AS THE MOTHER OF two Chinese-Italian-American Jewish children, I take great pride in sharing our family’s rich cultural heritage. In each new season, I seek meaningful ways to blend our multicultural background with contemporary Jewish living so that my children may have the opportunity to develop their own Jewish identities and to inspire within them the desire to live Jewishly and pass on to the next generation the Jewish values that guide our lives.

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Parashat Sh'mot (January 5, 2013)
By Dr. Mark Weisstuch
“There, there, up on the hill slope, you see it? A man crouched by the red bush, he’s been sitting there for hours. He looks like he’s talking to it.”

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Parashat Va-y'chi (December 29, 2012)
By Prince H. Davis
VA-Y’CHI IS THE last parashah in the book of Genesis, and as such, our forefather Jacob gives us a final lesson that still is relevant in our Internet-connected, wireless, high-tech world. Jacob, through all his accomplishments, teaches us about how to live in galut — in exile.

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