Search and the other Reform websites:


"Resident Foreigners" and the Wisdom of the Oxymoron

I am an American citizen living in Vancouver, British Columbia, and serving a Canadian Reform congregation for the past six years. This juxtaposition of two increasingly disparate identities has given me a unique perspective on this week’s parashah, Chayei Sarah, and its introduction of the term ger toshav, “resident foreigner.”

D'var Torah By: 
Yes, I Will Go: The Optimism of an Immigrant
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman

In his reading of Chayei Sarah, Rabbi Moskovitz offers a powerful reminder of our obligation to the ger toshav, the “resident foreigner” in our midst. Since Abraham sought to establish his future in a new land, the Jewish people has had a long history of being gerim tosh’vim — outsiders, foreigners dwelling in new lands, transplants seeking a patch of earth to claim as our own. ... I am captivated by the path Abraham ans Sarah took to get there, leaving their home and venturing to an unknown land. 

Where Was Sarah During the Akeidah (the Binding of Isaac)?

In Parashat Chayei Sarah (the life of Sarah), we learn that our biblical matriarch Sarah lived 127 years, she died, and Abraham purchased her burial cave in Hebron (Gen. 23:1-20). Sadly, the only Torah portion named after a woman provides few hints about her life or final days.

D'var Torah By: 
How an Enduring Legacy Can Prolong Our Life From Generation to Generation
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Frederick Reeves

Rabbi Kipnes and Ms. November start their discussion of Parashat Chayei Sarah with Dr. Och’s observation that modern readers feel disappointment when a portion named “the life of Sarah” begins with her death. Commentators going back as far as Rashi have tried to expand on the details of her life. 

Adding Life to Years

Chayei Sarah begins with the recording of Sarah’s death. But the fullness of Sarah’s and Abraham’s years and accomplishments leads us to appreciate the varied possibilities of living with purpose and dignitiy in old age.

D'var Torah By: 
Seasoning Wisdom with Reason and Good Sense
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Jonathan Blake

As we contemplate the accomplishments of an aged Abraham and Sarah, we reflect on the words of a commentator to Pirkei Avot 5:21 who suggests that the word for "old," zakein, means a wise person who knows how to season wisdom with reason and good sense.

A Legacy of Kindness, Generosity, and Love

Ironically, this week's Torah portion, Chayei Sarah ("Sarah lived"), is not about Sarah's life but about her legacy. Beginning with mention of her death and of Abraham's great mourning for her, the parashah primarily focuses on the Bible's first story of betrothal, namely that of Isaac to his cousin Rebekah. The relationship between their engagement and subsequent marriage, and Sarah's legacy becomes clear as the parashah unfolds.

D'var Torah By: 
It’s Complicated
Davar Acher By: 
Steven Kushner

Families are — in a word — complicated. Dr. Ellen Umansky deftly lays this out for us surrounding the impact of Sarah's death, specifically Abraham's taking control of his son's future, and Rebekah's presence providing "comfort" to a grieving Isaac. In all, this story is suggestive of more than enough fodder for several years of serious psychotherapy. In other words, this family is just like any of ours.

God as Matchmaker

With so many matchmaking and online dating services, it's no surprise that people are looking for love, but as a recent Pew study1 shows, their search results in marriage less and less o

D'var Torah By: 
Real Prayer and Real Love
Davar Acher By: 
Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi

Real prayer comes in many forms, just like love.

Deliberate Destiny

Different circumstances demand different paradigms of thought and action, and the Jewish people have advanced through history by fulfilling the action demanded by the moment.

D'var Torah By: 
God Can’t Do It Alone
Davar Acher By: 
Robert Orkand

As Rabbi Segal points out, Parashat Chayei Sarah tells us two stories, both of which are presented in intricate detail.

Knowing that We Are Blessed

As Abraham reached the twilight of his years, our Torah portion informs us that "the Eternal had blessed Abraham in every way" (Genesis 24:1).

D'var Torah By: 

While Chayei Sarah features stories that further the plotline of Abraham's descendants, what strikes me is the recurring theme of our ancestors seeking proof that their hopes for their fam

Subscribe to RSS - Legacy