Torah Portion

D’Var Torah: Sharing in Joy

Posted on: February 27, 2019 | 22 Adar I 5779 by Special to the Chronicle

  One of my most memorable Jewish experiences was serving as the student rabbi in Fairbanks, Alaska at Congregation Or Hatzafon, Light of the North. This small Jewish community dedicates itself to keeping the light of Judaism alive. Even on the darkest, coldest winter days, the community comes together to celebrate Judaism and to pass […]

D’Var Torah: God in holy spaces

D’Var Torah: God in holy spaces

Posted on: February 1, 2019 | 26 Shevat 5779 by Special to the Chronicle

  Plot and phrasing are the most obvious ways the Torah conveys meaning. Juxtaposition is similarly important. The passages the Torah places alongside one another are a vital clue to meaning. The rabbis call this semikhut parshiyot. Notice, then, how the Torah introduces the section we read this month detailing the building, furnishing and sacrificial […]

D’Var Torah: What’s in a name?

D’Var Torah: What’s in a name?

Posted on: January 8, 2019 | 2 Shevat 5779 by Special to the Chronicle

  This summer, I came to Milwaukee to begin my new role as the rabbi of Lake Park Synagogue. My congregants know me as Rabbi Dinin. Whether they’re asking me about the Torah, Jewish law or to pass the salt at Shabbat dinner, I am Rabbi Dinin. But when I came to my new home, […]

D’Var Torah: Before you take leave, tell me your name

Posted on: December 7, 2018 | 29 Kislev 5779 by Special to the Chronicle

  As 2018 wanes and 2019 is glimpsed on the horizon, so too the transition from Genesis to Exodus, Bereshith to Shemot in our honored cycle of the Torah occurs. Exodus will open with these simple words: “These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob…” Truth be told, […]

D’var Torah: Asking the right questions

D’var Torah: Asking the right questions

Posted on: September 13, 2018 | 4 Tishri 5779 by Special to the Chronicle

  If I polled most of you about the significance of Sept. 19, 2018, you would likely respond, perhaps after quickly consulting your calendar, that it is Yom Kippur. After doing some biographical research, Douglas Adams, however, might arise with a far different response: He might suggest that I have now reached the age of […]

D’var Torah: Civility required for survival

Posted on: August 2, 2018 | 21 Av 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

  This year marks a wonderful milestone, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. But even as we celebrate such a remarkable and welcome time in our history we cannot help but be concerned at the tenuous position in which Israel constantly finds itself. We all hope that one day soon […]

D’Var Torah: Spiraling through Tisha B’Av

Posted on: June 26, 2018 | 13 Tammuz 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

  Jewish time is often expressed as a series of cycles: the daily prayer cycle, the weekly flow towards, and through, Shabbat, with its accompanying cycle of Torah, the annual cycle of holy days, which we count each Rosh Hashanah. Underlying these cycles we find cosmic time, the cycles of the sun and moon. Jewish […]

Model of leadership in the Torah    

Posted on: May 31, 2018 | 17 Sivan 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

The 38th weekly Torah portion, “Korach,” tells the story of a rebellion against Moses, led by a man named Korach. What can we learn from Korach? A small child measures everything by how it makes him or her feel, how it satiates their momentary needs.  Fulfill their desires and you’re “my friend.”  Spurn them, and you’re not. […]

When G-d asked if we accepted the Torah

When G-d asked if we accepted the Torah

Posted on: May 2, 2018 | 17 Iyyar 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

  The Talmud (Shabbat 88a) tells a version of how the Israelites accepted Torah at Sinai.  Based on the description of our people standing under Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:17), we learn that in fact, G-d held the mountain up over the Israelites and asked whether we accepted Torah, with a clear implication that if we […]

One of the oddest items in the Torah: strange fire

Posted on: April 3, 2018 | 18 Nisan 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

Parshat Shemini Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47 On April 14, a week after the end of Passover, the parshah contains one of the oddest and most inexplicable narrative episodes in the Torah – the episode of the “strange fire.” The entire book of Leviticus is mostly a handbook to the priests and Levites about how to […]