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The Challenge of Letting Go of Children

“Lech L’cha: Heartbreak and Hopefulness as Children Go Off and Move On,” is spoken-word poetry to dramatize the wide array of thoughts and feelings that occur to Abram's parents.

D'var Torah By: 
Can You Go Home Again?
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Noam Katz

“Toil on, son, and do not lose heart or hope. ..." is a message in Thomas Wolfe's classic novel, You Can’t Go Home AgainThe same themes apply as Abram embarks on his own road to self-actualization in Lech L'cha.

It’s Not All About Us: Redemption, Revelation, and the Land of Israel

Being human means dangling simultaneously between two core realities. At one and the same time, on one hand you matter a great deal – it’s all about us! -- and on the other hand, you’re not the only thing that matters.... This dialectic is especially emphasized in Parashat Eikev, in Deuteronomy, chapters 8-11, as the Israelites approach a climactic moment in human history. Will redemption and Revelation really allow for the possibility of creating an ideal society?

D'var Torah By: 
What It Means To Be a Mensch
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Shoshana Nyer

"And now, O Israel, what does the Eternal your God demand of you? Only this: to revere the Eternal your God, to walk only in divine paths, to love and to serve the Eternal your God with all your heart and soul, keeping the Eternal’s commandments and laws, which I enjoin upon you today, for your good” (Deut. 10:12-13). ... In remarking on Deut. 10:13 in Parashat Eikev, many commentators, including Rashi and Nachmanides, point out that God is not asking for reverence and love, or for us to follow the divine path for God’s sake, but rather for our own. It is for our good. It is not something God needs, but something we need.

Learning About Life by Learning Torah

 “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.

D'var Torah By: 
The Meaning of the Instruction, You Shall Teach Them to Your Children
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Ahuva Zaches

Using Deuteronomy 6:7 from this week’s Torah portion, Va-et’chanan, as her springboard, Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi explored the ultimate question of Torah study above: “Why study Torah?” Regarding potential motivations, she described four essentials that a student of Torah may be seeking....I would like to add to this list a fifth motivation for Torah study, namely the sharpening of one’s intellect.

The Shaping of a Nation in the Wilderness

Before setting off on a hike in the mountains of Montana, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner was unsettled by all the signs warning about bears. He peppered the National Park Service employee with questions about which trails might be bear-free. The employee pointed out that if it were bear-free, it would not be a wilderness. Over the course of the Book of Numbers, the Israelites encountered many trials in the wilderness. Now, this next generation of Israelites is ready to work together as a people.

D'var Torah By: 
A Lifetime of Connection to Judaism
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Michael S. Churgel

The Book of Numbers concludes with a recounting of the journey of B’nai Yisrael since leaving Egypt and instructions for the subsequent occupation of the Promised Land. As Rabbi Grushcow concludes, the central theme of this narrative is relationship. Every journey is enriched through meaningful relationships, with people, with God, and with tradition. 

Getting What We Deserve

A baby boy born with a defective heart has multiple surgeries before his first birthday and will suffer from physical and cognitive impairments for as long as he lives. 

D'var Torah By: 
Open to the Present: A Response to Life’s Surprise
Davar Acher By: 
Greg Wolfe

Rabbi Korotkin deftly explores the challenges of how we might understand, today, the system of rewards and punishments that are laid out so matter-of-factly in this week's Torah portion, Eikev

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