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  • Drash on Parashat Vayeishev: The Value of a Coat

    Jacob sends Joseph to find his brothers in Shechem. A person, out of nowhere, discovers Joseph to-eh basadeh, “wandering in the field” (Gen. 37:15). What if we translate this differently? Joseph was “astray about the field”? Joseph misinterpreted what the field truly meant. Joseph recalled the argument between Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:8). What did they argue about? (more…)

  • Drash on Parashat Vayishlach

    Why does Jacob hold on so tenaciously to the angel (Genesis 32:27)? Where once he held his brother’s heel for a free ride from the womb to the world, now he grasps the angel and demands a blessing. One lesson we draw from this is not to rely on miracles. The Talmud tells us, “One should never place oneself in a dangerous situation, saying, ‘A miracle will come and save me’” (Shabbat 32a). (more…)

  • Drash on Parashat Chayei Sarah

    Abraham sends his servant, Eliezer, to find a wife for his son Isaac. He is to choose a woman of good character. How does he determine that Rebecca is the one? The Midrash helps us understand the character that was revealed to Abraham’s servant: (more…)

  • A Message From Rabbi Louchheim and President Ben Vogel

    October 27, 2018


    This morning, on the way to our Shabbat services we learned of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. At services, we offered our prayers for recovery for the victims of the shooting and our support for all of those families who lost loved ones or who had loved ones who were injured by the attack. (more…)

  • Drash on Parashat Vayeira

    This week’s portion points to an important Jewish institutional value, “Welcoming the Stranger.”  Abraham, in a new home, not even settled, invites three strangers in and provides a wonderful meal for them.  Hospitality is not only a physical reality, but a spiritual one as well.  Rabbi Freehof, may his memory be for a blessing, said we should be conscious of three types of hospitality: (more…)

  • Drash on Parashat Lech L’cha

    Lech l’cha literally means “Go for” or “to yourself” (perhaps, “within” yourself). As Rashi says, “Go for your own benefit, for your own good.” A spiritual quest is often one made alone, away from the comforts and influences found in one’s home.  Avram begins a journey of religious awakening away from the possible objections of his father, taking a road that is at once unfamiliar to him and foreign to his family. (more…)

  • Drash on Parashat Noach

    Adam and Eve are cast out of tranquility. Civilization is set in motion. Very soon thereafter, things go awry. Humanity becomes corrupt and lawless. The Holy One decides to begin anew by wiping out life on earth with a great flood. Noah and his sons build an ark, and his wife, Na’amah, and her daughters-in-law make it habitable. They fill it with pairs of animals from every kingdom of life. (more…)

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