Parshat Tazria-Metzora offers a confusing depiction of skin afflictions and potential treatments that, for many people, have little connection to modern life. Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, suggests that the perplexing descriptions like “a white discoloration on the skin of his body which does not appear to be deeper than the skin and the hair in it has not turned white” (Lev. 13:4) may offer the modern reader an opportunity for self-examination about our relationships with God.
When tragedy strikes what do we say to God? In Parshat Shemini Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, die suddenly. Dr. David Frankel, senior lecturer in Bible at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, examines Aaron’s silent response and contrasts it with The Book of Job and the outrage Job expresses when faced with suffering. When is the time for silent submission and when is outraged protest appropriate?
As we begin the Book of Leviticus the language of sacrifices becomes more prominent in our Torah reading. Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson, Mashpiah Ruhanit (Spiritual Mentor) and senior lecturer of Rabbinics and Hasidic Thought at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, examines what sacrifices the Israelites are bringing to Tabernacle and to God. In the modern day how do we bring ourselves and the next generation into God’s presence?
In Parshat Vayakhel Pekudei are we limiting God to a certain space? What happens when we leave sanctuaries and seek the Divine in the outside world?
Who is the true hero of the Purim story? Dr. Ari Ackerman, Dean of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and Senior Lecturer in Jewish Thought, discusses the concept of Nes Nistar (a hidden miracle). How do the power of Esther and the foibles of Haman and Achashveros manifest in the drama of saving the Jews? Watch the video below:
This week in Parshat Terumah Moses and the Israelites are given detailed instructions on how to construct the Tabernacle in the wilderness. How do we make sense of this detailed blueprint: “Make five posts of acacia wood for the screen and overlay them with gold—their hooks being of gold—and cast for them five sockets of copper?” Dr. Paul Mandel, senior lecturer in Midrash at The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, offers an intriguing explanation for the uses of different materials in the construction of the tabernacle and the special dividing curtain.
This week in Parshat Yitro The Ten Commandments are revealed, and with them another lens of viewing God. Dr. Ari Ackerman, Dean of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and Senior Lecturer in Jewish Thought, calls attention to one of the great debates of Jewish Thought between Judah HaLevi and Maimonides. Should we view God through the lens of power as seen in history or through the lens of wisdom as seen in our natural surroundings?
Rabbi Dr. Paul Shrell-Fox, Lecturer in Family and Community Studies, offers a play-by-play on the negotiations between Moses and Aaron and Pharaoh. Pleading on behalf of the Israelites, Moses leads an epic battle between Pharaoh, who considers himself a god, and the God of Israel.
Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, Dean of Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, invites us to consider the varied roles God plays in our lives. In Parshat Shemot, when God says “I will be what I will be,” God give us permission to imagine the Divine in many different ways.
Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson, Mashpiah Ruhanit (Spiritual Mentor) and senior lecturer of Rabbinics and Hasidic Thought at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, explores Jacob’s identity when he is on his deathbed. Jacob, also known as Israel, articulates his values as he dies and how he wants his descendants, the Children of Israel, to live.