How Do We Make Sense of the Insensible? Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch on Parshat Tazria-Metzora


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. 

How Do We Respond to Tragedy? Dr. David Frankel on Parshat Shemini


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?

What Offerings are you Bringing to God? Rabbi Reb Dr. Mimi Feigelson on Parshat Yayikra


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?

God is in the Details Dr. Paul Mandel on Parshat Terumah


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.

God of History or God of Wisdom? Dr. Ari Ackerman on Parshat Yitro


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? 

Can We Walk the Walk (as Children of Israel)? Rabbi Reb Dr. Mimi Feigelson on Parshat Vayechi


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.