July 17, 2018 |

Vayeshev

One Shul: What It Really Means

This week the New York Times published an article about web based bar mitzvah lessons. The article points out that increasingly people are turning away from the traditional American route of normal bar or bat mitzvah lessons under the rubric of a community synagogue. Instead they are finding their...

Seeing the Best in Others

I once went on a Rabbinic interview weekend that taught me an important lesson. Rabbinic interviews - sometimes called "probas"-- are grueling and intense experiences. I was scheduled to speak seven times, to eat meals with members of the congregation and to answer questions about everything from my...

Parshat Vayeshev: Walkthrough

[We left off last week with a fast-forward of Esav’s family in Edom, outside Canaan.] Jacob, however, settled down IN his father’s land, Canaan. [Following the same formula we’ve seen before with Noach, Abraham, and Isaac]: Here is the story of Jacob: Joseph was 17 years old, and he would hang...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -- Vayeshev (3)

Joseph's problems emerge in the opening verses of Parshah Vayeishev: "And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him so that they could not speak a friendly word to him." (Gen. 37:4) Jacob, who saw his own father favoring his brother and saw the...

The Legacy of Judah Maccabee

The holiday of Chanuka is dedicated to the importance of Jewish education. Many of its customs - including dreidels and presents -- are rooted in getting children excited about learning Torah. The history of Chanuka tells of the attempts of a Hellenizing king to wipe out Jewish learning and...

My video divrei Torah on this parasha from youtube Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

vayishla Jacob wrestles and gets renamed Israel JewU285 God was on Jacob's side as Jacob wrestlesd himself JewU292

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Vayeshev (2)

It's always rich in irony to see someone who got government backed student loans or other subsidies insisting he is a "self-made man." While we're often quick to blame others for our problems, we claim our successes are due entirely to our own efforts. In Parshah Va-Yeishev, Joseph finds himself...

Kings from Empathy

i Tamar marries Yehudah's two sons in succession. In succession, both sons die. Yehudah promises to marry Tamar to his much younger son, when that son grows older. But Yehudah also fears that Tamar has caused his other sons' death (which is not what happened). And so Yehudah does not marry Tamar...

Got Oil?

My son has a funny and slightly troubling habit of sneaking out of his room after getting tucked in -- funny because he's so insistent on trying, and slightly troubling because he's only 2 and a half. Last night I found him playing at the top of the stairs (having gotten through the child-proof...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -Vayeshev

We read in Parshah Va-Yeishev, "Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons… and he had made him an ornamented tunic." Why did Jacob play favorites? He already knew from growing up with his brother Esau how much tsuris that could lead to, and his Uncle Laban taught it to him again when he...

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