A primer on my parsha reflections

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Jewish tradition has divided the Torah into weekly portions sized to read it beginning to end in a year. A secondary reading is an excerpt from another book in the Old Testament canon, thematically related. The major portion is the parsha, the secondary the haftarah. The dvar torah, “word of teaching,” is the sermon.

For four years now I’ve given the dvar torah at Shabbat services near me in Brooklyn. Happenstance found me sermonizing there, just five days into my new life in New York City.

My collection of talks has piled up on paper and as I transcribe them here, I hope you’ll get a peek into my faith and approaches. Some of these sermons are steeped in Biblical metaphor and Hebrew terminology. Where convenient, I’ll try to link to explanations. If you have questions, simply comment and I’ll get back to you shortly.

I wanted most to share this online because a decidedly different side of me emerges through speaking — not my blogging side. My blogging is often advocacy, my sermonizing reflection. My blogging is prescriptive, my speaking introspective. I can research and polish a blog post for weeks before publishing, but my sermons are all last-minute, raw and informed with my own knowledge.

Are there contradictions between the persona of my blog and that of my spiritual advice? Absolutely. Does that bother me? Not in the slightest: “These and these are both the words of the living God.”

Shabbat shalom.

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