Barriers and Abilities: Commentary on Parashat Va’era 5783

Barriers and Abilities: Commentary on Parashat Va’era 5783
By Rabbi Dena Bodian, Hebrew Seminary alum, ordained 2010; College Chaplain and Campus Rabbi at Wellesley College

When I was growing up, a popular children’s Haggadah featured a skit to be acted out at the seder table. In the skit, Moses is depicted as having a lisp, which was clearly intended to be a comedic moment. While […]

What Is In A Name? Commentary on Parashat Shemot 5783

What Is In A Name? Commentary on Parashat Shemot 5783
By Rahmiel Hayyim Drizin, Professor of Kabbalah

וְאֵ֗לֶּה שְׁמוֹת֙

“And these are the names etc…” (Exodus 1:1.)

 

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.

– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2

 

William Shakespeare uses this line in his play […]

By |2023-01-13T10:38:22-06:00January 13, 2023|Torah, Weekly Torah Portions|0 Comments

Resting Before Peace: Commentary on Parashat Vayyetze 5783

Resting Before Peace: Commentary on Parashat Vayyetze 5783
By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President & Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

At some early point of the 20th century, the American Jewish community summarized its own cautiousness by telling this classic joke:

           What does a Jewish telegram say?

            “Worry now. Details to follow.”

Anxiety has haunted us, the modern-day children of Israel, at least since […]

Our Patriarchy Without Men: Commentary on Parashat Toledot 5783

Our Patriarchy Without Men: Commentary on Parashat Toledot 5783
By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President & Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

The Hebrew Bible features the stories of at least six women who could not get pregnant and, only due to divine intervention, finally gave birth—Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Hannah, the woman who eventually gave birth to Samson, and a certain Shunammite woman whose child would not only […]

Seeing Angels in Genesis: Commentary on Parashat Chayyey Sarah 5783

Seeing Angels in Genesis: Commentary on Parashat Chayyey Sarah 5783
By Rabbi Dr. Rivkah Glick, Hebrew Seminary alum, ordained 2019; Educator, Orot

These past few years, I have immersed myself in the weekly Torah portion, trying to “occupy Torah,” live within the Torah, as I look at it with fresh eyes, “to see” (lir’ot, לִרְאוֹת) what presents itself to me, something new, different, or something old […]

How To Be a Blessing (On Election Day): Commentary on Parashat Lekh Lekha 5783

How To Be a Blessing (On Election Day): Commentary on Parashat Lekh Lekha 5783
By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President & Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

I am lucky that, when I was young, I learned how to recite Hebrew blessings. As I grew, I was grateful when I learned how to acknowledge when I felt blessed—when I was granted good fortune and kindness by God and […]

JustOneWord: A Commentary on Parashat Bereshit 5783

JustOneWord: A Commentary on Parashat Bereshit 5783
By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

After the French theologian Antoine Arnauld expressed his support for the ideas of the Dutch Bishop Cornelius Jansen—who endorsed a handful of thoughts that Pope Innocent X decried as heresy in 1653—Arnauld was quickly removed from the société de la Sorbonne (“the society of the Sorbonne”).[1] […]

Natural, Unnatural, and Supernatural: Commentary on Sukkot 5783

Natural, Unnatural, and Supernatural: Commentary on Sukkot 5783
By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

         Some 700 years ago, a young rabbi named Ya’akov HaLevi Moelin visited his father the morning after Yom Kippur and was shocked to discover him at a construction site in the Rhineland. Ya’akov’s father, Rabbi Mosheh Moelin, was assembling his sukkah with little […]

Going Nowhere, With Love: Commentary on Parashat Vayyelekh 5783

Going Nowhere, With Love: Commentary on Parashat Vayyelekh 5783
By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

One of my favorite contemporary Hebrew expressions to hear on the phone is “אֲנִי כְּבָר בָּא” (ani k’var ba), which means literally “I am already coming.” I have heard it used by Israelis who are in a car and actually en route to their next meetup, […]

By |2022-10-02T19:45:38-05:00September 30, 2022|Torah, Torah and Talmud, Weekly Torah Portions|0 Comments

Parashat Ki Tavo

Remember Who You Come From: Commentary on Parashat Ki Tavo 5782

By Ben Abrams, Rabbinical Student at Hebrew Seminary

The Israelites are reminded of their wandering, humble past when they are instructed to recite the formula אֲרַמִּי֙ אֹבֵ֣ד אָבִ֔י (Arami oved avi, “My father was a wandering Aramean”),[1] words that today are a critical part of the Haggadah we read on Passover. The […]

By |2022-09-15T15:28:28-05:00September 15, 2022|Torah, Weekly Torah Portions|0 Comments

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