Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D.

Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D. is senior rabbi emeritus of Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco, and a faculty member of the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning at the University of San Francisco, and the Beyond The Walls: Spiritual Writing Program at Kenyon College. He is the author of Flash of Insight: Metaphor and Narrative in Therapy and other articles, poems, and books. 

How the Living Serve the Dead

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D.

In Vayechi , we hear the final requests of Jacob, and then Joseph, to bring back their remains to be buried in the land God promised to their ancestors. In carrying Joseph’s bones, Moses moves draws closer to his progenitor, giving us the opportunity to reflect on our connections to our forebears.

The True Measure of Repentance

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D.

In Vayigash, Joseph now a powerful man in Egypt conceals his identity from the brothers who had sold him into slavery years ago. In so doing, he allows them to confront their past mistakes.

Ensuring the Success or Failure of Dreams

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D.

Reading Parashat Vayeishev and other dream-filled portions in Genesis, we wonder if it’s possible to influence a dream’s prophecy rather than passively waiting for the outcome to unfold. The upcoming holiday, Hanukkah, provides a clue.

Struggling With a Deceitful Heart

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D.

The inner turmoil that marked Jacob’s life of deceitfulness as well as his struggle with his father, brother, and sons are exposed in Vayishlach . After many years of separation, Jacob, about to meet his estranged brother, Esau, slept in a dream-like state of wakefulness on the shore of the Jabbok River where a man wrestled with him until the rise of dawn.

But Wait, There’s More!

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D.

In Vayeitzei , Jacob encounters God in a dream, thus advancing the biblical journey of our people learning from and following the instruction of God. After the biblical era, our Sages found a way to expand our understanding of the Torah and its teachings.