Torah for This Hour

Torah for This Hour | April 25, 2024

Posted on April 25, 2024

“How is a song born?” That’s what the singers ask in the Israeli children’s classic, The Sixteenth Lamb. And it’s actually a good question: How is a song written? How is the music composed? A song becomes popular when it is simple and easy to learn, when it brings different worlds together, music and words, […]

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Torah for This Hour | April 18, 2024

Posted on April 18, 2024

Tzara‘at and Tikkun Olam: The Nexus The weekly Torah portions Tazria‘ and Metzora‘ deal with the appearance of tzara’at, a skin affliction, with its various physiological symptoms, from its diagnosis through the affected person’s isolation to the patient’s full purification and return to normal life. Even back then, in the time of the Rabbis, it […]

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Torah for this Hour | April 11, 2024

Posted on April 11, 2024

In the morning … every morning … we stand and recite: “Blessed are You, Adonay, our God, Sovereign of the world, who releases captives.” Every morning, in the “verses of song” mood-setting passages from Psalms we recite Psalm 146 which includes the verse: “Who secures justice for those who are wronged, nourishes the hungry. God […]

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Torah for this Hour | March 28, 2024

Posted on March 28, 2024

The red heifer is perhaps the biggest enigma of the Torah: just as it purifies the unclean, so it defiles the pure. Not to mention the question: How can the water of purification, made from heifer’s ashes along with other ingredients, eliminate impurity? Those engaged in the preparation of the red heifer were the priests […]

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Torah for this Hour | March 21, 2024

Posted on March 21, 2024

These past few years have afforded us the opportunity to read new meanings into ancient words. Before COVID, “plague” was a strange and distant concept. Just last Sukkot, “captivity” and “redemption of captives” were peripheral concepts to us, and suddenly they are a part of our daily lives. With these are echoes of other ancient […]

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Torah for this Hour | March 14, 2024

Posted on March 14, 2024

And Moses was unable to enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud rested upon it and the Presence of the Eternal filled the Tabernacle. (Exod 40:39) In fog there is unity: all of us experience the same feeling of uprootedness. The same helplessness. The need to take action of some sort. For over 150 […]

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Torah for this Hour | March 7, 2024

Posted on March 8, 2024

In recent months, three buildings have been dedicated and opened their doors in Jerusalem, buildings that are meaningful far beyond the structures themselves: the new National Library of Israel building, the campus of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in the center of the city, and the covered tennis courts in the Malha neighborhood. […]

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Torah for this Hour | February 29, 2024

Posted on February 29, 2024

A half-shekel donation on Purim, reading Parashat Shekalim just before Rosh Ḥodesh Adar—these practices recall the annual gift to the Tabernacle/Temple. Its origin is in the census ordered in Parashat Ki Tissa, where everyone was counted by giving a half-shekel. Why? This is not a donation but a “ransom” intended to save the donor from […]

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Torah for this Hour | February 22, 2024

Posted on February 22, 2024

On February 24, 2022, the lives of many people in Ukraine changed beyond recognition. Plans and dreams were shattered in an instant. Loss, destruction, terror, and uncertainty burst into people’s lives. I, like many of my friends, will never forget that day. That year in March we celebrated Purim together in Czernowitz, which is where […]

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Torah for this Hour | February 15, 2024

Posted on February 15, 2024

The Ark of the Covenant (aron ha-‘edut) is the first item on the list of furnishings that the Israelites were commanded to construct in preparation for setting up the Tabernacle (mishkan). The task of that piece of furniture is to store and safeguard the sign of the covenant between the Eternal and His people. Some […]

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