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Summary of Parashat Vayetzei

This weeks portion focuses on Jacob and specifically his time away in Haran working for Laban. At the end of last weeks portion we saw Jacob running away from Esau, fearing for his life. The following is a quick summary of the events that take part in this weeks portion of Vayetzei.
This weeks portion focuses on Jacob and specifically his time away in Haran working for Laban. At the end of last weeks portion we saw Jacob running away from Esau, fearing for his life. The following... Read More
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Discovering the ancient roots of antisemitism

Can the oldest hatred be traced back to this week's portion? How is it that a cryptic verse in the Passover Haggadah seems to contradict the Torah story and how is it related to this week's Torah portion?
Inspired by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' teaching from Covenant and Conversation, “The birth of the world's oldest hate”   In the Passover haggadah story there’s a short cryptic passag... Read More
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Ends or Means, Journey or Destination?

Does the end really justify the means or what is more important; the journey or the destination? There are two paths before us, do we do as Laban did and step on others in order to achieve our goals or do we do as Jacob did and no matter the hardships, refuse to push other’s down in order reach a destination? What is the destination and how do successfully reach it?
Recently I’ve been thinking about the phrase attributed to Niccolò Machiavelli, “The end justifies the means”.  We all have personal goals and many of us build plans to a... Read More
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As you have done to others, so others will do to you

Rebecca used Jacob to deceive Isaac into giving him the blessing reserved for the eldest son. Was she, maybe, justified in deceiving Isaac? What were the repercussions of this deceit?
Is it OK to be deceitful? Is it OK to take what is not yours? Does the outcome justify the means? These are the obvious questions that come to mind when we read the story in Parashat Toldot of how Reb... Read More
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All in the Family

Sometimes we consider our untruths to be ‘white lies’. Is there really a difference between lies and white lies? Is lying for the greater good really OK?
Truth is Full of Lies It’s hard to admit, but all people lie, to a certain extent. Even those good people who value honesty above most other things, sometimes lie. As a justification, we conside... Read More
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A very strange story

The story of Isaac is full of holes. There is no real plot laid out in a logical way. Why would the Torah chose to tell us a story that has so many inconsistencies and holes in it?
The Torah  story of Isaac is a story full of surprises from beginning to end. In fact, one can critically say that this is not how a story is told - most of the relevant details are missing in th... Read More
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Summary of Parashat Toldot

Jacob deceives Isaac and steals Esau's birthright
This week's Parasha focuses on the story of Isaac even though most of the Parasha is taken up with the stories of Isaac and Rebecca's children Esau and Jacob. The central story in this week's parsha... Read More
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The Life of Sarah

Summary of Parashat Chayai Sarah
This week's parasha starts at the end of Sarah's life. Midrash explains that Sarah died upon hearing the news that Abraham had taken Isaac to sacrifice him. But we must ask ourselves, where did Sarah ... Read More
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God's promises to Abraham and his descendants

God had made promises to Abraham regarding being the father of many nations and the owner of the land of Canaaan, however at the time of Sarah's death, Abraham had none of that.
Throughout his life Abraham receives two promises from God - both these promises are repeated to Abraham five times. The first promise is regarding the land of Canaan. Time and time again, he is tol... Read More
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Bullying of Clergy by Congregants - Silence is not the answer

The elderly lady brought the Pastor a redlined copy of the letter to the congregation. I've highlighted your English mistakes, it must be because you're not a native
I was speaking recently to a clergy of a local church. She's a Korean American who has been here for most of her life. She told me about several incidents that had happened with an elderly congr... Read More
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Family and Career

Abraham showed us through the stories told in the Torah how an investment in family can provide us with an amazing legacy
It is common knowledge everywhere in the world that a person has a career and most people also have a family life to contend with and balance with the work life. Although family life is very important... Read More
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Honor God by honoring His image - That means us!

Hachanasat Orchim - Welcoming guests. Abraham realized the importance of welcoming strangers, so much so that he left God in mid-sentence and ran to greet strangers.
In the middle east, hospitality is a way of life specifically amongst the Bedouin. The Bedouin, who are nomads, are considered to be “ideal Arabs” in as far as their extraordinary hospital... Read More
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Summary of Parashat Vayeira

And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day
This week's Torah portion is full of stories that have defined who the Jewish people are and what they believe throughout their existence. Within the stories of this portion the fathers of many great ... Read More
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Do not be afraid - there is protection

At high and low points in our lives, we all have that inner fear, self-doubt about our course, our future and whether we are doing the right thing. How can we conquer this fear?
Exactly at one of the  peak moments of Abraham’s life when he should have been celebrating, instead he is afraid! In the verse (Genesis 15:1) it doesn’t actually say that he is afraid... Read More