WRJ's Blog

This week’s Torah portion, Va-et’chanan, Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11, is replete with significance for us as Jews, including the Sh’ma, the V’ahavta and the Ten Commandments. In addition, this parasha sets out the Jewish argument for free will – human action will influence God’s reaction.  All of these precepts work together to assert that we are not God’s pawns, but rather work within God’s guidelines to create a moral world of peace and prosperity. In The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, “Frymer-Kensky noted that biblical monotheism thus comes with a mandate:  as God’s partners, it becomes...

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The words I’m asking you: did you put more love into the world today?

This week’s Torah portion, D’varim, the 1st chapter in Deuteronomy, means words. Words – the ones we write, the ones others say, the ones we say aloud, the ones we say to ourselves – I hear them, do you? Are we listening? Words are so important in our lives and especially in the Torah. Rabbis, scholars, midrash, and commentaries analyze and scrutinize every word in the Torah and what the words are trying to teach us. Words and interpretations keep the Torah alive.

Today in our world, words are everywhere...

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Black women in the United States are three to four times as likely to die due to pregnancy-related causes as compared with white women. Black infants in the United States are over three times more likely to die due to complications related to low birth weight as compared to white infants. These disparities are not due to race; ...

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On our recent WRJ Virtual Trip to Israel, tour guide Shari Robins aptly began our time together by describing the “world’s first virtual tour” (Deuteronomy 34:1) when Moses went up to Mount Nebo and “the Lord showed him all the land.” The journey from Sinai to Mount Nebo had taken 40 years and the itinerary of the Israelites through the desert from Egypt to Canaan is listed in detail in Parashat Mas’ei (Numbers 33:1-49). This is the second in this week’s double Torah portion Matot-Masei.

The word masei means “journey.”  Journeys take many forms. They can be physical, as when the...

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In some ways, Parshat Pinchas has a little bit of everything: from Pinchas being rewarded for killing an Israelite and a Midianite, to a census, to Joshua being chosen as Moses’s successor, and ending with the description of the sacrificial ritual for festival occasions. In the middle of all that is a story of Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah – five women named in the Torah, where women are not often named. These five sisters were the daughters of a man who had no sons. Under the law at the time, land was passed down from father to son, but not to daughters. The women stood before...

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