Friday, September 30th 2022   |

Commentaries

Person in the Parsha: VAYERA

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“Trials and Tests”

I arrived quite early to the fourth session of the weekly class, in which we were using the book of Genesis as a source for studying leadership.

Three of the students were already there, and they all seemed to resent my arrival and intrusion into their schmoozing. I sat down behind the teacher’s desk, signaling to them that they could...

Perfecting G-d’s Creation (LECH LECHA)

By RABBI DAVID POLSKY, Congregation Anshe Sfard

Circumcision may reasonably be viewed as sacrilege. After all, removing the baby’s foreskin tampers with God’s creation. By commanding Abraham to circumcise himself, God rejects this manner of seeing the world. Although He proclaims His creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31), He nonetheless leaves it imperfect so that we can complete it. God expresses this idea to Abraham by telling him to circumcise himself...

Person in the Parsha: LECH LECHA

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“The Active Leader”

If you are reading this column regularly, you may remember that Miriam was the shy participant in the class that I have been describing. You will surely remember that this was a class in which I used the book of Genesis as a springboard for discussions about leadership.  I had been asked to assist the members of the class to...

Spiritual Audacity (NOACH)

By RABBI DAVID POLSKY, Congregation Anshe S’Fard

We would expect the person chosen by God to rebuild humanity would be incredibly righteous. Indeed, the Torah itself states at the beginning of this week’s portion that Noah was the most righteous man of his generation (Genesis 6:9). Yet, the medieval biblical commentator Rashi argues that Noah was lacking in faith (commentary to Genesis 7:6).

Rabbi Levi Isaac of Berditchev, the chasidic...

Person in the Parsha: NOACH

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“As He, or She, Could Be”

The three women in the class unanimously favored one point of view. The six men were evenly split, three agreeing with the women and three disagreeing vehemently. Last week, I introduced readers of this column to another experiment of mine in which I used the book of Genesis as a text for teaching a topic of contemporary...

‘Doing Things with Words’ (BERESHIT)

By RABBI DAVID POLSKY, Congregation Anshe S’Fard

“And God said, “Let there be light! And there was light” (Genesis 1:3) This bold and beautiful turn of phrase by the King James Bible enables it to express the power and majesty of God’s creation of light. Lost amidst the poetry is the nature of this creation, as well as the rest of the cosmos. Throughout the creation narrative, it is God’s...

Person in the Parsha: BERESHIT

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“Time Management”

This happens all the time. You meet someone new, either being introduced to him by someone else, or taking the initiative yourself by saying, “Hi, my name is Tzvi Hersh. What is yours?”

After you exchange names with your new acquaintance, I will wager that the next question you ask is, “What do you do?” He will respond with a description...

Person in the Parsha: VEZOT HABERACHAH

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“More Than Just a Man”

I have been an avid reader of books about the psychology of religion since I was an adolescent. I remember going to the local public library and systematically taking out every book on the shelves that related to the topic of the human phenomenon of religious behavior.

Until relatively recently, I had been convinced that no book on...

Person in the Parsha: VAYELECH

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“Forgiven, But Not Forgotten”

He was one of the greatest Talmud scholars of the last century, but outside of a small circle of disciples, he was never well-known. He was a tragic figure in many ways, and although few have heard of him today, he has not been totally forgotten.

Interestingly, forgetting was one of the central themes of his many teachings.

His...

Person in the Parsha – HA’AZINU

By RABBI TZVI HERSH WEINREB

“Repression of the Sublime”

How does the poet get started on the process of writing a poem, or the songwriter as he sets about composing a song? Does he or she look at the environment, at what is going on in the world and seek inspiration from things external? Or does the creative artist look within, using introspection as a tool to uncover...