Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Elul 28, 5774
MISHPATIM, Exodus 21:1-24:18
By:
Rabbi Howard A. Addison
"And you shall be a holy people unto me." With these words from Exodus, one might argue that this week's portion encapsulates the essence of Torah. Nestled amidst a legal compendium covering a range of ritual, civil and criminal issues, this stirring phrase allows us to glimpse the goal of sanctified living. The Zohar actually refers to the 613 mitzvot,...
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YITRO, Exodus, 18:1-20:23
By:
Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, JE Feature
This week's portion, Yitro, which is named after an elder who was not a Jew, includes the first recitation of the Ten Commandments. Throughout the centuries, Jews have debated how Moses' father-in-law Yitro, or Jethro, came to be identified with the first articulation of the basic laws that have guided so many for so long. Jethro joins Moses, Aaron and...
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Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16
By:
Rabbi Joshua Runyan
Geometry tells us that the shortest path between two points is a straight line. A glance at the geography of the Mideast shows us that the quickest route from the fertile plains of northern Egypt to Israel follows the Mediterranean shore. But this week's Torah portion opens with a curious detail: Instead of seeking the fastest way out of a...
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BO, Exodus 10:1-13:16
By:
Rabbi Danielle Stillman
This week's portion continues the story of Moses and Aaron's negotiations with Pharaoh to free the Israelite people. The brothers return to Pharaoh again and again, each time threatening another plague: locusts, darkness -- and finally, the slaying of the first born. Each time, just as Pharaoh relents a little bit more, God hardens Pharaoh's heart, and he refuses to...
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VAERA, Exodus 6:2-9:35
By:
Rabbi Howard A. Addison
Once, two men were negotiating the sale of a mule. The seller claimed that the animal was hardworking and obedient. Two weeks later, the buyer, now irate, summoned the mule's former owner. "You lied to me! This beast is lazy and uncooperative. I can't get him to budge." Grinning, the seller whacked the donkey across the backside with a 2x4...
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