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Blessings on the Hills

Deuteronomy 11:29 foreshadows an elaborate ritual in which blessings and curses are recited at the hills of Ebal and Gerizim, just across the Jordan River in the Promised Land.

D'var Torah By: 
The Land of Israel Is Holy
Davar Acher By: 
Joel R. Schwartzman

Certainly, it was with deep consideration that the compilers of Mishkan T’fillah selected the Genesis passage, 28:10–22, to be part of the preparatory readings for Kabbalat Shabbat (e

Balaam’s Talking Ass

The parashah for this Shabbat is a fundamentalist’s nightmare. This week we read the lollapalooza grand­dad­dy of all the off-the-wall Bible stories.

D'var Torah By: 
Balak: Words of Blessing, Words of Awe
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Lisa S. Greene

"Now Balaam, seeing that it pleased the Eternal to bless Israel, did not, as on previous occasions, go in search of omens, but turned his face toward the wilderness.

No Rest(s) for the Wicked

According to the Rabbis, Balaam was one of seven non-Israelite prophets. (One list also includes Balaam's father, as well as Job and the four friends who came to "comfort" him.

D'var Torah By: 
What Does the Eternal Seek from You?
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Lisa A. Edwards

At the conclusion of his incisive d'var Torah on Parashat Balak, my brother mentions the end of this week's haftarah from Micah.

Drinking from the River of Holiness

In this week's Torah portion we read the unusual story of Balaam, the mysterious and renowned sorcerer-for-hire commissioned by a fearful Balak, the king of Moab, to curse the Children of Israel du

D'var Torah By: 
Kellah, Hallel and Kodesh
Davar Acher By: 
Ann Kibel Schwartz

Balaam set out to curse the Children of Israel and ended up blessing them with words of praise.

A Sign to Remember

I do not wear tzitzit except when wearing a tallit to lead services.

D'var Torah By: 
Expressing Gratitude
Davar Acher By: 
Bobby Harris

This week we read in Parashat Sh'lach L'cha about the Israelites who have escaped from the slavery of Egypt and are once again filled with doubt about their future.

Nahshon, Music, and Shmutz

In Parashat Naso we finally reach the completion of the Tabernacle with all of its elaborate furnishings.

D'var Torah By: 
The Power of Blessing
Davar Acher By: 
David A. Lipper

My colleague Rabbi Zoë Klein has written a beautiful commentary on the importance of memory and honoring people of vision.

Walking and Standing

It is not obvious that the compilers of the Torah chose to finish the third book of the Torah with a set of blessings and curses.

D'var Torah By: 
Struggling with Reward and Punishment
Davar Acher By: 
Audrey Merwin

As Rabbi Marx discusses, many Reform siddur editors have been bothered by the biblical language of retribution that appears in passages in this portion and in various parts of Deuteronomy.


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