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Teachings

A Short Reflection on Parashat Vayeitze

This piece was written in 5777 as part of a course on Chasidic Torah commentaries. The Sfat Emet offers us some compelling teachings on Parashat Vayeitzei which dovetail nicely with the teachings that the Ohev Yisrael brings on last week's parsha, Parashat Toldot regarding the wells that Yitzchack dug. Whereas the Ohev Yisrael thinks about the wells as representing sources...[ read more ]

On Spiritual Seeking: A Dvar Torah for Parashat Vayeitze

This dvar was written in 5777. Leah’s story has always cried out to me in this week’s parsha—darsheni! And no, it’s not because my Hebrew name just so happens to be Leah. I find much of Leah’s narrative to be deeply resonant and oh so human. Though on its face, Leah’s is a deeply troubling and tragic story, I think...[ read more ]

A Modern Midrash On Leah

Author’s disclaimer: Please note that what follows is a modern, exploratory and creative midrash, centering on Leah Immeinu's narrative in Parashat Vayeitze which was originally written in 5777, was subsequently amended in 5779 and at the time of your reading may not necessarily reflect my current thinking and approach. In this midrash, I seek not to offer an absolutest reading...[ read more ]

A Modern Midrash on Rebecca and Isaac

Author's disclaimer: Please note that what follows is a modern, exploratory and creative midrash, centering on the events in Bereshit/Genesis 27, which was originally written in 5777 and does not necessarily reflect my current thinking and approach. In this midrash, I seek not to offer an absolutest reading, but instead to open a door of possibility. The art of the...[ read more ]

On Deception and Its Consequences: Parashat Toldot 5777

I wrote this drasha originally in 5777 (November 2016). When I read the story of Yaakov stealing Esau’s blessing from their father, Yitzchack in this week’s parsha, Parashat Toldot, I am filled with a wide array of often conflicting emotions. I feel a profound personal connection to Yitzchack, understand his pain and vulnerability on a gut level. At the same...[ read more ]

The Sfat Emet on Sukkot

This piece was originally written in 5777/2016. The Sfat Emet has many teachings about Sukkot which intersect well with his description of Yom Kippur as being like a mikvah. We are required to dwell in the Sukkah for the seven days of the holiday of Sukkot (as well as Shemini Atzeret, which many Hasidic masters liken to the very pinnacle...[ read more ]

Or HaMeir on Bereshit

This piece was written in 5777/2016. In his commentary on Bereshit, the Or HaMeir refers to two of the earliest Jewish mystical concepts—the notion that the Torah proceeded everything and the notion of a Ma’aseh Bereshit consciousness. When we think about the creation story, which has been interpreted and reinterpreted throughout the centuries, we tend to think of it as...[ read more ]

The Sfat Emet on Yom Kippur

This drasha was originally written in 5777. One of the most beautiful teachings I have encountered about Yom Kippur is from the Sfat Emet. The Sfat Emet uses the symbology and metaphor of a mikvah to talk about what Yom Kippur is and how it functions. Yom Kippur is this day of total immersion, total unity with God. On Yom...[ read more ]

ELI Talk: We All Were At Sinai: The Transformative Power of Inclusive Torah

Rabbi Tuchman delivered an ELI Talk We All Were At Sinai: The Transformative Power of Inclusive Torah in which she offers a new paradigm for understanding the religious import of including all within our sacred spaces. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOq77ouo5Og[/embed]

Senior Sermon, the Jewish Theological Seminary

Watch Rabbi Tuchman's senior sermon, delivered on October 23, 2017 at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.




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