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Weekly Insight

Shabbat Parshat Shelach 5775

The Positive Aspect of the Maapilim

Adapted from Rabbi Braun’s sermon in 5774

They suddenly rouse themselves, the stalwart men of war,

lightning ablaze in their eyes, their faces aflame, hands on swords.
They raise a great shout with one voice, the voice of the six hundred thousand,
a voice that tears through the tumult, vies with the desert’s roar.
Encompassed by furious storm, resolute, unyielding, they cry:

“We are the brave!

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Shabbat Parshat Beha’alotcha 5775

Birchat Kohanim, Who Does the Blessing?

Adapted from Rabbi Braun’s sermon in 5774

Sometimes you look at the Parsha and the sermon is staring you in the face. This week it jumped off the page at me and it was too good to pass up.

The torah gives us a glimpse into the dynamics of the Jewish community- The people, their complaints and the reactions of the leader and of god.
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Shabbat Parshat Naso 5775

Birchat Kohanim, Who Does the Blessing?

Adapted from Rabbi Braun’s sermon in 5774

I mean no disrespect to our kohanim when I ask: who are you to bless us? Are you better, more special? Am I really meant to believe that you have the power to bless another human being? Isn’t that God’s domain? Continue reading

Shabbat Parshat Bamidbar 5775

Yismach Moshe

Adapted from Rabbi Braun’s sermon in 5774
by Rabbi Braun

I have run out of ways to talk about counting Jews and the meaning of counting and the meaning of numbers. Thus it seems like the perfect week to do something different that will hopefully bring some meaning to our Tefillah.

I would like to try and gain a better appreciation of the Amidah that we recited at Shacharis this morning. Continue reading

Shabbat Parshat Behar 5775

Should We Support the Heter Mechira?

Adpated from Rabbi Braun’s sermon in 5774
By: Rabbi Braun

Since 1889 the religious community has been grappling with how to observe shemittah in Israel without destroying the farmers livelihood and laying the land fallow for one year.

The laws of shemittah are detailed in our parsha: you can’t plant or otherwise work the land. You can’t harvest or sell the produce. What is a Jewish farmer to do? What is the consumer supposed to purchase and eat?

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Shabbat Parshat Emor 5775

Judaism For All

Adapted from Rabbi Braun’s sermon in 5769
By: Rabbi Braun

Every so often I will be having a conversation with someone about Jewish law and practice and the conversation inevitably ends with “well of course you do that – you are the Rabbi.” The rest of us well you know…

Nothing could be farther from the truth and the juxtaposition of topics in this mornings Torah reading serves to highlight that very point. Continue reading

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