Rabbi’s Teachings

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Tazria-Metzora

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Torah Talk: Tazria-Metzora: The Leprosy of Gossip “Life and Death are in the Hands of the Tongue”  (Proverbs 18:21) (This year, we have two portions this week:  a “double portion”.  There are 54 Torah portions, but only 50-51 weeks in a Jewish year.  Some of the Torah readings are paired up in certain years to […]

Shemini

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Torah Talk: Shemini: We Are What We Eat I once heard an eager student ask Rabbi Ronnie Serr how he should go about becoming more observant. Ronnie looked at him and gave him the perfect answer: “very slowly”.  It’s all too easy to get so passionate about something that we ultimately burn ourselves out rather […]

Passover: The Marriage Beyond the Wedding

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Torah Talk: Passover: The Marriage Beyond the Wedding With the anticipated opening up of businesses in California, I am gratefully getting a plethora of calls from young couples who have been waiting to get married and are scheduling their nuptials this summer.  Different backgrounds and different individuals, but they all seem to need the same […]

Tzav

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Torah Talk: Tzav – Commandments, Pogroms, Passover, & Giving In 1144 in Norwich, England the first of the ancient blood libels took place:  a horror against Jews that has been perpetuated for almost a thousand years: and one of the roots of anti-Semitic practices worldwide.  And yet, the fallacy of the blood libel (which is […]

VaYikra

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Torah Talk: VaYikra – To Answer the Call This week’s Torah reading are the first chapters of the Book of Leviticus…but that’s not the name of the book!  It is in the actual name that we find a message for all of us. Called “Leviticus”, this Latin name for the book is based on the […]

Vayakhel/Pekudei

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Torah Talk: Vayakhel/Pekudei: Building a Holy Community on Individual Effort “Do not regard anyone with contempt, and do not reject anything, for there is no man who does not have his hour and nothing which does not have its place.” — Ben Azzai, Pirkei Avot 4:3 Every so often, the weekly Torah reading is a […]

Ki Tisa

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Torah Talk: Ki Tisa – Stepping Towards Forgiveness Idolatry.  Sexual immorality.  Murder.  The description of the events of the Golden Calf in this week’s portion sound like the outline for a new cable television series.  By the end of the portion, the main characters of Aaron and the Hebrews are forgiven for their sin of […]

Purim

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Torah Talk: Purim – A Jewish Path for Addiction Recovery “All the Festivals will be annulled in future time except for Purim”  Midrash Mishlei 9:2 What a seemingly strange comment we find above from the Midrash.  Out of all the holidays in the Jewish calendar, according to traditional Jewish belief, Purim is the only one […]

Shabbat Zachor

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Torah Talk: Shabbat Zachor – The Real War This Shabbat is a “special” Shabbat called Shabbat Zachor, in which we recount the tale of Amalek (the leader of a nation of enemies of the ancient Hebrews), how we are commanded to blot out the memory of Amalek (Ex. 35:19), and that God will always be […]

Mishpatim

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Torah Talk: Mishpatim – Surrendering to Our True Selves This teaching is in honor and in memory of Avi Gross-Schaefer z”l, may his memory be a blessing and may his family always be comforted among the mourners of Zion In the “Ahavat Olam” prayer chanted before the recitation of the Shema, we thank God for […]

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