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Torah Commentary Blog

Temple Emanu-El’s Torah commentaries are prepared by members of our clergy, senior staff, Religious School faculty and Saturday morning Torah Study group. Blog comments are moderated. Please note that we reserve the right to delete comments that are deemed inappropriate, use offensive language, promote personal attacks or are self-serving (promote goods and services). At the same time, we hope that this blog will promote thoughtful dialogue and continued learning. If you are a temple member interested in joining our team of writers, contact Prince Davis.



Parashat Noach (October 21, 2017)
By Bettijane Eisenpreis
AS I WRITE THIS, the first flight after Hurricane Maria has just reached New York City from Puerto Rico. I have not seen a photo of passengers kissing the ground, but I can well imagine that, after being battered by the storm, they might feel like doing so. In my apartment building, we still are waiting for word of the doorman who went to Puerto Rico on vacation. Another staff member tells me that his mother is frantic; her brother and his whole family live there, and she has not heard from them.

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Sunday October 15th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


Parashat B'reishit (October 14, 2017)
By Bettijane Eisenpreis
THE ASSIGNMENT WAS “Give an adequate description of Chaos.” The professor was Richard Wilbur, who later became the second poet laureate of the United States. Mr. Wilbur, a visiting professor at Wellesley, taught a seminar in poetry writing that met very early in the morning during a very cold New England winter. You had to be motivated to take that class.

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Sunday October 8th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


Parashat Nitzavim/Vayeilech (September 16, 2017)
By Bettijane Eisenpreis
WE HAVE COME TO THE END OF MOSES’ LIFE. The great leader, who has shepherded the Israelites from slavery through the desert, will not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. With grace and foresight, he is instructing Joshua, his chosen successor, on how to face the challenges that lie ahead.

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Sunday September 10th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


Parashat Shof'tim (August 26, 2017)
By Bettijane Eisenpreis
“JUSTICE, JUSTICE SHALL YOU PURSUE,” God says to Moses in Parashat Shof’tim. Commentators have pointed out that the repetition of the word “justice” is intended to emphasize the importance of justice in the establishment of the Israelites’ new society. Also, the people are commanded to “pursue” justice, not to establish it. Perfect justice never will exist in this world, but that is not to say that people can ever stop aiming for it.

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Sunday August 20th | Post a comment/View comments » (1 comments)


Parashat D'varim (July 29, 2017)
By Bettijane Eisenpreis
IN THIS PORTION, D’varim, we read about the spies who go into the Land that God has promised to Israel and bring back a gloomy report. They speak of large cities inhabited by giants who are sure to defeat the Israelites. Sound familiar? Yes. We have heard about the spies and the giants, the so-called Anakites, in the book of Numbers. (13:1–14:44) In both versions, the spies bring back discouraging news; the Israelites refuse to go forward and are punished by having to stay in the desert for 40 years, until the entire generation that came from Egypt dies out.

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Sunday July 23rd | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)


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