Bruce Kadden

The Making of a Covenant with Men and Women

D'Var Torah By: Ellen M. Umansky, PHD

October 21, 2016
Almost 25 years after God calls Abram to leave his home in Mesopotamia and go to the land of Canaan, God formally establishes a covenant with him (Genesis 17:4ff.). Like that established with Noah, his descendants, and all living beings (9:8ff.), it is unconditional, everlasting, includes blessings and promises, and carries with it a sign decided upon by God. However, unlike the rainbow, placed in the clouds and passively received by humanity, the sign of God's covenant with Abraham — male circumcision — is something with which Abram and his descendants, not God, are entrusted. They are to circumcise their sons and other male children in their household on the eighth day after birth as a physical sign of the covenant. The punishment for failing to do so is severe. "An uncircumcised male who has not circumcised the flesh of his foreskin," says God, " … shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant" (17:14).

"Is My Father [Really] Alive?": More than a Rhetorical Question

D'Var Torah By: Bruce Kadden

December 22, 2014
Are there any more moving words in the entire Torah than the question Joseph asks immediately upon revealing his identity to his brothers: "Is my father [really] alive?" (Genesis 45:3). After many years of denying his identity, hiding his identity, and trying to forget his past, he cannot contain himself...

The Power of Names and Naming

D'Var Torah By: Bruce Kadden

January 2, 2013
Elie Wiesel has written, "In Jewish history, a name has its own history and its own memory. It connects beings with their origins. To retrace its path is then to embark on an adventure in which the destiny of a single word becomes one with that of a community; it...

A Wrestling Match for the Ages

D'Var Torah By: Bruce Kadden

January 2, 2013
"Ladies and gentlemen, let's get ready to rumble!"In this corner, returning after a long absence in Haran, where he is rumored to have fathered eleven sons and one daughter with four different women, considered by some a saint and by others a heel, is the one, the only, Jacob, son...

Jacob’s Vertical and Horizontal Encounters

D'Var Torah By: Bruce Kadden

January 2, 2013
As Parashat Vayeitzei begins Jacob is fleeing from his home in Beersheba. He’s afraid his brother, Esau, will make good on his threat to kill Jacob (Genesis 27:41), because Jacob (with Rebecca’s guidance) tricked their father, Isaac into giving the blessing for the firstborn to Jacob. As the sun sets...