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Retribution and Restitution

Shabbat Shoftim / 22 August 2015

This week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, takes me back to one of the richest and most challenging pages of Talmud I have ever taught. The eighth chapter of tractate Bava Kamma deals exclusively with laws of personal injury, and opens with the fundamental principle: Essentially, anyone who causes a non-mortal injury becomes liable financially to make… Read More

Posted: August 23, 2015 by

Compassionate Attention

Shabbat Nahamu 2015

In 1946, Dr. Emmi Pikler, a Hungarian pediatrician, went to work at an orphanage in Budapest. In private practice before the Shoah, Dr. Pikler had developed distinctive ideas about raising infants, and in the aftermath of the war she brought her method to the orphanage. For Dr. Pikler, the most important thing was to treat… Read More

Posted: August 4, 2015 by

Rabbi Ira F. Stone – On the occasion of his final Shabbat as Senior Rabbi

Parashat Hukkat 5775/ 27 June 2015

I’m not sure if anyone would choose Parashat Hukkat for a special occasion or for their final regular weekly D’var Torah after 27 years of preaching from this pulpit. However, like countless b’nai mitzvah students who I’ve had to guide through less than inviting parshiyot, I will persevere. The truth is it won’t be difficult…. Read More

Posted: June 29, 2015 by

The Nazir

Parashat Naso 5775/30 May 2015

The institution of the Nazir is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. For those of you not familiar, let me explain. In this morning’s Torah reading we are introduced to the laws of the Nazir. The Nazir is a person who is not satisfied with the religious obligations incumbent on the general population. He is… Read More

Posted: June 2, 2015 by

Dedicated to Sheri Rosenberg

Parashat Bemidbar 5775/ 23 May 2015

The time between starting out and reaching the goal is bewildering. The great contemporary biblical interpreter, Aviva Zornberg, translates Bamidar, the book of the Torah that we begin today, as bewilderment. This is a far better title than the Book of Numbers that the Greeks bequeathed to the English and more active than the more… Read More

Posted: May 26, 2015 by

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