Torah Commentary

Not Only About the Ten Commandments

July 18, 2021Cantor Evan Kent

This week’s Torah portion, Va-et’chanan, usually focuses on the Ten Commandments, but as I sat down to write my commentary, I was reminded of  my teacher Rabbi Nehemia Polen, who taught us that there would be times in our

What Torah Requires of Us

July 22, 2020Rabbi Max Chaiken

If we had to choose only one Torah portion to summarize the entire Torah, which would it be? We'd have to consider >Parashat Va-et’chanan a strong contender; in it, we find a compilation of Torah’s “greatest hits,” both in law and narrative.

The Necessary Steps to Ready Ourselves for Repentance

August 17, 2019Cantor Elizabeth Sacks

In the realm of profound and fruitful parshiyot, Va-et’chanan looms large. In one stream of chapters, we both relive Revelation — the Ten Commandments — and receive the most succinct summary of our emerging theology — the Sh’ma. And yet, even before we reach these transformational texts, Va-et’chanan captures our attention.

Learning About Life by Learning Torah

July 28, 2018Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D.

 “You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them ... ” (Deuteronomy 6:7). While we don’t agree on much, over time and space we religiously minded Jews do seem to agree on one central thing: the supreme importance of the study of Torah. As modern scientific fields of study and new Jewish movements have emerged, many ask, “Why study the Torah?’ I propose four answers to this question.

When Imploring Fails to Give Us What We Want

August 5, 2017Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein

In Parashat Va-et’chanan, Moses tells how he pleaded with God to let him enter the Promised Land and how that request was denied. In the passages that follow, Moses offers us an example of how to persevere despite the deep disappointment of not attaining one’s dreams.