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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 B'haalot'cha (June 9, 2012)
By Rabbi Benjamin J. Zeidman
THIS WEEK’S PARASHAH is B’haalot’cha, and it is sweeping in scope. It begins with the set-up and ritual for the Tabernacle, continues with additional rules for the Levites who service that place, and concludes with Miriam stricken with a skin affliction. In the meantime, the Israelites complain, they are sick of eating manna, and Moses becomes distressed. Another strange day in the desert for the Israelites…

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Parashat Naso (June 2, 2012)
By Robyn Weinstein Cimbol
IN PARASHAT NASO, the Book of Numbers continues its namesake theme: counting. These chapters are filled with numbers and census taking. It is a parashah punctuated with intrigue (laws of the Sotah) and superheroes (laws of the Nazirite), each deserving mention. And, if this isn’t enough to make the parashah a pleasant read, it also contains one of the most prevalent liturgical motifs: the Priestly Benediction. These three lines of poetry, consisting of three, five and seven words respectively, contain some of the most dramatic, reflective words in our siddur. And yet, I’ve chosen to comment on the archaic cult of sacrificial offerings.

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Parashat B'midbar (May 26, 2012)
By Rabbi Amy B. Ehrlich
IT’S NOT AN EXAGGERATION to say that we are at a critical time in history: American history, world history and Jewish history when we must assess who we are, what we stand for and with whom we stand. If we are to move forward in a meaningful way, then we must know ourselves.

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Parashat B'har-B'chukotai (May 19, 2012)
By Saul Kaiserman
THIS IS ONE of the years when we read the final two portions from the book of Leviticus, B’har and B’chukotai, in the same week. These chapters conclude the section of the Torah known as the “Holiness Code,” which began with Parashat K’doshim and continued with Emor, the portion we read last week.

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Parashat Emor (May 12, 2012)
By Missy Bell
A LOT IS HAPPENING in this week’s Torah portion, Emor. Moses is on Mount Sinai, receiving many of the commandments to be followed by the Israelite community. First, Moses is given a list of rules for the kohanim, the priests. This is followed by a list of commandments regarding the animal sacrifices that the Israelites may offer to God and what is acceptable versus what is not.


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