Opening the Well of Interpretation
Parshat Vayetze

In Jewish tradition, wells give life by providing not only water, but also a meeting place for our ancestors to find their mates. In this week’s Torah portion, Jacob meets his beloved Rachel at a well. Emboldened perhaps by love at first sight, he rolls away the heavy stone covering the mouth of the well… Read More

Friday Night with Grandpa

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My paternal grandfather, Chaim Yitzchak Weinreb, was an old-school Jew, with roots in the region of eastern Poland known as Galicia. He had studied under renowned Talmudists back in the old country, and his fervent wish was to see his grandchildren grow up to be dedicated Talmud students. I was his oldest grandchild and discovered… Read More

The Importance of Free Will

This Shabbat we read from Parshat Vayera, which tells the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God destroyed these two towns filled with malicious people because they were so evil, God could not help them find the path of goodness. Many times in the Torah, one must delve very deep into the text, looking at every… Read More

Rachel’s Desire

“Nice boots,” my friend Rachel said one day, as we walked home from Hebrew day school. “I got them from one of my aunts, I’m her favorite!” I said. “So let me know when you are ready to give them away.” Rachel said, as she gave me a wink. The next week as we walked… Read More

A Call to Help the Children

In this week’s parshah, Abram is put to the first test. He is told to leave his homeland and go to the “land which I will show you.” He packs up all of his possessions, including his wife, his cattle, his servants and slaves and his tents. He then leaves his homeland and goes to… Read More

A New Beginning

This Shabbat we read parshat Noah, and the haftorah is from the Book of Isaiah. In parshat Noah, God floods the earth because of the bad behavior of the people. He tells the prophet Noah to build an ark and fill it with a male and a female of every animal and bring them on… Read More

The Choices We Make

This Shabbat, we read the beginning of the Torah, Parashat Bereishit. This text is about creation. On the first day, God created light and darkness. Each day God created something new such as the waters, the grass and the trees. After that, He created the sun, the moon and the stars, followed by birds in… Read More

The Light That Is Israel

This week’s haftarah is from the Book of Isaiah, chosen because it refers to the creation of the world. In the Torah portion, G-d creates light and darkness for the entire universe. In the haftarah, Isaiah says, “I will turn darkness before them to light.” Here, the darkness refers to the Israelites not obeying G-d’s… Read More

First, We Must Perfect Ourselves

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This magnificent three-week festival period — Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot — may be viewed and experienced in two dimensions simultaneously: the universalist, nationalist dimension and the particularistic, individual family dimension. Rosh Hashanah is the day on which the world was born, when the sigh-sob truah sound of the shofar cries out against the tragedies… Read More

Following in the Acts of Our Creator

Yom Kippur is one of the most observed days in Jewish culture. The power of the day is awesome. The reality of its importance is known. The stir of thoughts and emotions leading up to it help us create the awareness of the day. One of the most central principles to Yom Kippur is asking… Read More