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Teachings

Kedoshim 5781

Our double parsha this week, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, as with so much of Torah, covers a lot of ground and is multi-faceted and multi-layered. These parshiyot contain verses that have provided considerable strength and inspiration to us throughout the centuries, as well as verses that have caused tremendous pain. I am going to be focusing in this dvar Torah on a...[ read more ]

Tazria Metsora 5781

Tazria-Metsora 5781 Lauren Tuchman   This week’s parsha, Tazria-Metsora is both incredibly timely and deeply complex. Now that the Kohenim have been ordained, their functions are beginning to be outlined. The Book of Leviticus is arguably the Torah’s most complex and least understood book, given that it is largely concerned with ritual actions and the functions of the priests.  ...[ read more ]

Changing Ourselves To Change The World

This essay first appeared in Chaver Up! 49 Rabbis Explore What It Means To Be an Ally Through a Modern Jewish Lens, edited by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Rabbi Mike Moskowitz.   One of the central motifs in the Pesach seder is our journey from degradation to praise, from narrowness to expansiveness, from slavery to freedom. We are now b’midbar,...[ read more ]

Coming Close To God: A Reflection on Pesachim 98

A version of this piece was originally published as part of My Jewish Learning's daf yomi page of the day Talmud project.   On today’s daf, the Talmud is deep in the weeds of a continuing discussion about when, how and by whom the Passover sacrifice must be brought. What happens if a person purchases a variety of animals designated...[ read more ]

Memory and Moving Forward: A Reflection on Purim 5781

A version of this piece was originally published by SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva.   Today, I remember. I remember vividly the all-consuming sadness I felt last Purim, as the sun was setting and my celebratory seudah was ending, the last event I attended with a large Jewish community. I remember feeling overcome with the intuitive sense that it would...[ read more ]

The Importance of Hallel on Passover A Reflection on Pesachim 95

This piece was originally published as part of My Jewish Learning's Daf Yomi page of the day Talmud project.   Today’s daf opens with a Mishnah. “MISHNA: What is the difference between the Paschal lamb offered on the first Pesaḥ and the Paschal lamb offered on the second Pesaḥ? On the first Pesaḥ, at the time of slaughtering the Paschal...[ read more ]

Torah From A Mussar Perspective Mishpatim 5781

During this pandemic time, I have found myself frequently moving between periods of normal energy and periods of considerable fatigue. I note that the latter is not unexpected, given all that has occurred in our world and in my own life this past year. Yet, I yearn to emerge from this tiredness back to how I was pre-pandemic, knowing, ultimately...[ read more ]

Vayetze 5781 — The Humanity Of Our Ancestors

torah

There’s something so richly rewarding about returning again and again to our foundational stories in sefer Bereshit year after year. As we learn in Perkei Avot, often translated imprecisely as ethics of our fathers, turn it turn it, for everything is in it. I approach Torah year after year with the intuitive sense that something new will emerge—Torah will reveal...[ read more ]

Bereshit 5781

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman sits at a table and studies from a Braille Talmud

After a Tishrei like no other, here we are, beginning our Torah anew, just as we do every year. Bereshit, like all of the parshiyot in Genesis is filled with foundational ideas and narratives. In the opening perek/chapter, we are told that human beings are created b’tzelem Elokim—in the image of The Divine. This seemingly simple idea has been understood...[ read more ]

Wisdom And Reflections For A Very Different New Year: Seeking The Divine Face

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman sits at a table and studies from a Braille Talmud

This piece originally appeared as part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's Wisdom and Reflection For A Very Different New Year series in 5780/2020. Psalm 27, which we traditionally recite twice daily from the beginning of Elul through Hoshana Raba is one of my favorites. It is emotionally complex and multi-faceted. I wish to be in Your Presence, the...[ read more ]




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