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Rabbi Neal Borovitz
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Parshat B’haalatecha

Published: 28 May 2010

Achre Mot-Kedoshim

Published: 23 April 2010

Reflections on the yahrzeit of Yitzhak Rabin and the murders at Fort Hood

Published: 13 November 2009

The parsha this week is Haye Sarah, the life of Sarah. In fact, the topic of the Torah reading is the death and burial of our matriarch Sarah. The text begins with the words:

“Va-yihiyu chayay Sarah maah shana v’esrim shana v’sheva shanim shnai chayey Sarah” — “The span of Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred and twenty and seven years.” Commenting upon the unusual wording to express the age of Sarah at her death, the Rabbis suggest that the reason for this was that Sarah’s years were truly filled with life.


Ki Tetze

Published: 28 August 2009

This week’s Torah reading contains more commandments (72) than any other of the 54 weekly Torah portions. Moreover, the breadth of the mitzvot, which deal with civil, criminal, ritual, and moral law, makes this portion truly unique. Some of these laws — such as shatnez, the prohibition against wearing a garment made of a mixture of wool and linen — seem arbitrary, while others — such as the laws prohibiting the charging of interest — were constructively emended and amended during biblical times so that a just but effective commercial legal system could be established.


Parshat Emor

Published: 08 May 2009

The rabbis of old firmly held to the belief that there are no extraneous words or passages in the Torah. This week’s Torah reading, a repetition of the Jewish holy-day calendar, challenges this position. After all, there are only very minor differences between the holy-day calendar in Leviticus 23, and the parallel passages found in Exodus 23, Numbers 28 & 29, and Deuteronomy 16.


Parsha Tetzaveh

Published: 06 March 2009

One of my favorite Chanukah songs is Peter Yarrow’s “Don’t Let the Light Go Out.” I not only love to sing this song at Chanukah time but I think about its challenging message every time I enter a synagogue and see a ner tamid burning. While it was the Chanukah menorah that inspired Yarrow’s song, I find its call to keep the light of God’s presence and the presence of the Jewish people burning bright to be particularly relevant on this Shabbat Tetzaveh, where our Torah portion begins with the command to Moses: “You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling a ner tamid” (Exodus 27:20).


Parshat Vayigash

Published: 02 January 2009

Parshat Noach

Published: 31 October 2008

Parshat Re’eh

Published: 29 August 2008

Our Torah portion this week marks the beginning of Moses’ rather lengthy farewell sermon to people Israel and begins with the words:

“Re’eh Anochi notan lifnaychem hayom bracha uklalah” ( Deut 11:26),

“Behold, I have set before all of you [the community of Israel] blessing and curse.”

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