Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: MIKETZ (Shabbat Chanukah)

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“Sparks in All Directions”

My many years of teaching experience have taught me many lessons. One is that when students are encouraged to express their own ideas, they inevitably do so. Moreover, they do so with great creativity and originality. The...
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Person in the Parsha: VAYEISHEV

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“The Secret of Success”

The class devoted to the study of leadership, using the book of Genesis as a text, was proceeding well. On this, the ninth session, it reached a new depth. It did so by paying careful attention to...
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Person in the Parsha: VAYISHLACH

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“The Nurturing Leader”

The class I was teaching on the subject of leadership, using the book of Genesis as a source text, was proving to be quite a learning experience for me. The diversity of the students in the class was proving to...
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In His Dreams: VAEITZEI

By RABBI DAVID POLSKY, Congregation Anshe Sfard

A major theme of this week’s Torah portion is dreams. At the beginning of the portion, Jacob is escaping his brother Esau. On the way, he falls asleep and dreams of angels going up and down. God also speaks to him, telling Jacob...
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Person in the Parsha: VAYETZE

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“Jacob Was Incensed”

Up until this point, the seventh session of the class using the book of Genesis to explore the concept of leadership, my role as teacher was a very easy one. The students not only participated eagerly, but vied for opportunities...
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That’s Gotta Hurt: TOLEDOT

By RABBI DAVID POLSKY, Congregation Anshe Sfard

One of the highlights of parashat Toledot is Jacob’s theft of Esau’s blessings and birthright. Most traditional interpreters justify Jacob’s deeds as being necessary. Such readings of Jacob’s deception have led us to laugh at or ignore Esau’s emotional distress when discovering that...
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Person in the Parsha: TOLDOT

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“What Was He Thinking?”

Here it was, the sixth session of the class which was using the book of Genesis as a source for studying the nature of leadership. It was proving not to be the kind of class in which the teacher...
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The Machpeilah Purchase: CHAYEI SARAH

By RABBI DAVID POLSKY, Congregation Anshe Sfard

We would say that the Louisiana Purchase is among the biggest real estate steals in history. But also right up there is Abraham’s purchase of the cave of Machpeilah that we read about in this week’s portion. Avraham pays 400 shekalim, which was...
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Person in the Parsha: CHAYEI SARAH

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“Abraham the Negotiator, Sarah the Queen”

Before I entered the classroom that evening, I already knew that Zalman would come prepared with some dazzling piece of scholarship. The regular reader of this column will remember that last week, the fourth session of the...
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Hospitality is next to godliness (VAYEIRA)

By RABBI DAVID POLSKY, Congregation Anshe Sfard

All of us are familiar with the importance of hospitality, but a commonly known midrash elevates its significance beyond what we would expect. At the beginning of this week’s parsha, Abraham is communing with God. After noticing three strangers walking near his tent,...
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