Looking Upward and Outward

Looking Upward and Outward

Nov 7, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Vayera

Sight and vision play an important role in the two opening narratives of Parashat Vayera. 

Read More
An Environmental Journey

An Environmental Journey

Oct 14, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Sukkot

One of my sweetest memories as a rabbinical student at The Jewish Theological Seminary relates to the holiday we welcome this week, Sukkot.

Read More
Expelling Our Own Scapegoats

Expelling Our Own Scapegoats

Oct 3, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Yom Kippur

This coming Shabbat culminates the period of ‘aseret yemei teshuvah, the 10 days of repentance, as we commemorate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Read More
Teshuvah: Seeking the Hidden Face of God

Teshuvah: Seeking the Hidden Face of God

Sep 26, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Ha'azinu | Shabbat Shuvah

This coming Shabbat, the Sabbath between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is known as Shabbat Shuvah, the “Sabbath of Return.”

Read More
The Covenant and the Land

The Covenant and the Land

Sep 19, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Nitzavim | Vayeilekh

At the opening of Parashat Nitzavim, the Israelites stand rooted before Moses and God. A captive and diverse audience, they are recipients of a message that is both immediate and transcendent in nature.

Read More
From Reflection to Appreciation

From Reflection to Appreciation

Sep 12, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Ki Tavo

Having underscored the role of memory at the conclusion of last week’s parashah (remembering the cruelty of Amalek), the Torah now accentuates the importance of appreciation in Parashat Ki Tavo.

Read More
A Time to Grieve

A Time to Grieve

Sep 5, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Ki Tetzei

As the fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continues to hold and war is waged against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), we turn our soul’s attention to Parashat Ki Tetzei.

Read More
Dependent? Yes, but on Whom?

Dependent? Yes, but on Whom?

Aug 29, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Shofetim

The Cairo Genizah, a rich treasure trove of Jewish history (60,000 fragments of this repository are housed in The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary) rediscovered by Solomon Schechter toward the end of the 19th century, attests to the rich Jewish life that flourished in Egypt and beyond.

Read More
Lessons of Idolatry

Lessons of Idolatry

Aug 22, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Re'eh

Parashat Re’eh looks forward to the entry of the Israelites into the Land.

Read More
Taking Responsibility for the Land

Taking Responsibility for the Land

Aug 15, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Eikev

Parashat Eikev deals heavily with the theme of entering and securing the Land of Israel.

Read More
Humility: God Is Above and Below

Humility: God Is Above and Below

Aug 8, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Va'et-hannan

Parashat Va’et-hannan, the second Torah reading of the book of Deuteronomy, places much of its emphasis on the loyal observance of mitzvot, God’s commandments.

Read More
A Shared Responsibility

A Shared Responsibility

Aug 1, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Devarim

This coming Shabbat, we begin the fifth and final book of Torah as we read Parashat Devarim, the opening of the book of Deuteronomy.

Read More
At Home, Running for Cover

At Home, Running for Cover

Jul 25, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Masei

The past month has been a time of great emotion and tension for those of us living in Israel. From the moment that Naftali Fraenkel (z”l), Gilad Sha’ar (z”l), and Eyal Yifrach (z”l) were kidnapped, there was a sense of foreboding that overtook the country.

Read More
Binding and Releasing

Binding and Releasing

Jul 18, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Mattot

At the very beginning of Parashat Mattot, the topic of words and vows is addressed.

Read More
The Importance of Constructive Action

The Importance of Constructive Action

Jul 11, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Pinehas

Recall the troubling and cryptic episode at the conclusion of last week’s parashah: the Israelites encamp at Shittim; they are seduced by Moabite women and attach themselves to an idolatrous cult of Ba‘al Pe‘or.

Read More
Always Strive to Be Israel

Always Strive to Be Israel

Jul 4, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Balak

This week’s Torah reading, Parashat Balak, is primarily focused on the Moabite king’s efforts to curse the Israelites.

Read More
Moses’s Misstep: Words Not Deeds

Moses’s Misstep: Words Not Deeds

Jun 27, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Hukkat

With the loss of both Miriam and Aaron, Parashat Hukkat marks a liminal and tragic point in the Israelite wanderings toward the Land of Israel.

Read More
Korah’s Fire Pans: Relics of Rebellion to Sacred Lessons

Korah’s Fire Pans: Relics of Rebellion to Sacred Lessons

Jun 20, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Korah

Contentiousness, dissent, and upheaval mark the opening of Parashat Korah.

Read More
Unity and Leadership

Unity and Leadership

Jun 13, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Shelah Lekha

At the very beginning of this week’s parashah, Moses organizes a mission to scout out the land of Canaan.

Read More
Balancing God’s Will and Our Own

Balancing God’s Will and Our Own

Jun 6, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

Parashat Beha’alotekha gives us insight into the Israelite trek through the wilderness.

Read More
Reset Search

SUBSCRIBE TO TORAH FROM JTS

Our regular commentaries and videos are a great way to stay intellectually and spiritually engaged with Jewish thought and wisdom.