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Textual Sources

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D'VAR TORAH
Numbers 7:1-8:4

Sources, ancient and modern, on the nature of the light of Hanukkah

Hanukkah, Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Numbers 7:1-8:4

A text study on the evolution of Hanukkah. What is the miracle, and what is the light?

Hanukkah, Textual Sources

In this text study, Rabbi James Greene examines the evolution of Jewish ideas of fatherhood over time, with an eye toward contemporary responsibilities of Jewish fathering.

In this talk from the 2015 Global Day of Jewish Learning, Professor Joel Hecker discusses the diverse meanings ascribed to kissing in Jewish mystical literature.

Textual Sources

Element of Jewish tradition see the world as inherently sacred. Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb mines these sources as a source for Jewish environmental ethics and theology.

Environment, Textual Sources

A text study on our relationship to, and responsibility for, those in need. Developed by Rabbi Shai Gluskin and Rabbi Toba Spitzer

Tzedaka, Textual Sources

This document contains two study guides which use Jewish texts and sources to offer wisdom on global climate change.

Environment, Textual Sources

With few transgender role models, Rabbi Jacob Lieberman, ’15, faced harassment and bullying almost entirely alone growing up. As an adult, he found acceptance within the Reconstructionist community and from himself. In this d’var torah, Rabbi Lieberman shares how Jewish resources can help comfort those who struggle to find acceptance and wholeness.

Rabbi Michelle Greenfield examines Biblical and rabbinic sources on disability. She examines the use and misuse of Hebrew texts that are often quoted when talking about inclusion of people with different abilities. Her English commentary provides a deeper understanding of these texts' strengths and limitations.

D'VAR TORAH
Genesis 18:1-22:24

A brief "crowdsourced" text study on the Binding of Isaac. Who was being tested, and how? 

D'VAR TORAH
Genesis 32:4-36:43

Text study and discussion questions on the reunion of Jacob and Esau after decades of separation

D'VAR TORAH
Genesis 1:1-6:8

This lesson about the Garden of Eden encourages students to generate their own midrash. It models an approach that can be applied to other Torah texts.

Overview of the centrality of Jewish texts in congregational conversations around Jewish values

D'VAR TORAH
Exodus 18:1-20:26

An example of an interactive study guide using simple online tools.

Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz explores the role of text study in Reconstructionist congregations' decision-making process, with several case studies. This article is excerpted from the Guide to Jewish Practice

What is Jewish peoplehood, and how is it relevant today? Rabbi James Greene assembled this collection of texts to explore these questions.

D'VAR TORAH
Exodus 21:1-24:18

This study sheet by Rabbi Toba Spitzer explores the Biblical commandment to help your enemy who is in distress. 

Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Numbers 1:1-4:20

This study sheet on parshat Bemidbar, prepared by Rabbi Toba Spitzer, explores commentaries on why Torah was given in the wilderness.

Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Genesis 37:1-40:23

A text study sheet prepared by Rabbi Toba Spitzer on the mysterious "man" found in Parshat Vayeshev.

Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Deuteronomy 32:1-52
For Haazinu/Shabbat Shuvah, an amalgam of midrashim on the death of Moshe, ending in a beautiful exchange of forgiveness between him and the Israelites. Prepared by Rabbi Toba Spitzer
Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20
A text study on Parshat Nitzavim on teshuvah, featuring teachings from Itturei Torah and Rabbi Sandy Roth (of blessed memory).
Textual Sources, High Holidays
D'VAR TORAH
Leviticus 16:1-34; 18: 1-30

A study sheet on the evolving concept of teshuvah over the ages.

D'VAR TORAH
Genesis 44:18-47:27

A study sheet on Parashat Vayigash on the reconciliations/re-encounters between Joseph and his brothers, and between Joseph and Jacob.

Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Genesis 25:19-29:9
Rabbi Toba Spitzer assembles textual sources on the redigging of ancestral wells in Parashat Toldot. 
Textual Sources

This study sheet contains two parables of the King and the returning son by the Baal Shem Tov, as well one of Kafka's parables, "The Imperial Messenger," which has some intriguing echoes of and stark contrasts with the first two stories.

Textual Sources, High Holidays

This study sheet on teshuvah and compassion draws our attention to the interplay between our ability to forgive others, and God's ability to forgive us. 

D'VAR TORAH
Exodus 12:21-12:51

This study sheet provides a variety of sources on the spiritual practices surrounding Passover (Pesakh).

Pesakh, Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Exodus 18:1-20:26

The Ten Commandments tell us not to "covet." What does that mean? This study sheet explores sources related to this issue.

This text study examines the vivid image of gates closing at the end of Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur, Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

What does it mean to be commanded to be joyful? Rabbi Toba Spitzer unpacks this imperative from Parashat Ki Tavo.

D'VAR TORAH
Numbers 13:1-15:41

What is the meaning of the fringes (tzitzit) on a Jewish prayer shawl (tallit)? Rabbi Toba Spitzer examines the sources. 

D'VAR TORAH
Numbers 1:1-4:20

Study sheet on the significance of having received the Torah at Mt. Sinai, in the wilderness.

Shavuot, Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Leviticus 21:1-24:23

The ritual of counting the Omer takes place between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot. This study sheet explores the deeper meaning of this commandment.

D'VAR TORAH
Genesis 1:1-6:8
A text study from the midrashic literature on the creation of humanity
Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20
Study sheet on the relationship between Parashat Nitzavim and themes of teshuvah.
Study sheet on the different interpretations of "sin" throughout Jewish history.
Textual Sources, High Holidays
D'VAR TORAH
Leviticus 25:1-26:2

A civil-rights era song proclaimed, "No easy walk to freedom." In this text study based on Parashat Behukotay, we examine what it means to "walk upright."

Textual Sources
D'VAR TORAH
Exodus 27:20-30:10

The Torah commands us to "wipe out the memory of Amalek...do not forget!" (Deut. 25) What exactly does "Amalek" represent, and what might it mean to remember (or blot out) that memory? 

Textual Sources, Purim
D'VAR TORAH
Exodus 27:20-30:10

The Torah commands us to "wipe out the memory of Amalek...do not forget!" (Deut. 25) But is Amalek an external enemy—or something inside us?

Textual Sources, Purim
D'VAR TORAH
Exodus 27:20-30:10
Rabbi Toba Spitzer explores texts related to the Eternal Light and its symbolism.
Textual Sources
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