Parshah Columnists

Guest Columnists
It’s Jewish to Worry
This instinct to look after others is ingrained in us from the Torah itself.
Illuminating the Darkest Moments of Your Life
Often, the context we assign to experiences is really a projection of how we view ourselves.
Why Judah Lost His Cool
Diplomacy is great, but sometimes you gotta throw down the gauntlet
A fire ignited within him, an urgent drive that granted neither time nor space to negotiate. He summoned his inner ninja and did the unthinkable: he confronted the prince of Egypt himself and demanded the release of the Jewish boy. There was nothing to discuss—it simply had to happen!
The Power of Story in Our Lives
When we can look back at the events of our past and embrace them for being the perfect training ground for who we are today, then we can begin to be the authors of our own lives.
Joseph: A Pictorial
A series of drawings by Dutch artist Shoshannah Brombacher, based on the Biblical stories about Joseph, the son of the patriarch Jacob
Can Love Overcome Resentment?
A Lesson from Vayigash
Judah was essentially saying, "It makes no difference whether I think that my father was unfair. I have reached deep within myself and know that the most important truth is that I love my father and I cannot allow him such pain..."
Thriving in Hostile Territory
Exile is a crucible; the challenges and difficulties of thriving in a hostile world provide the optimal setting for personal and national growth. However, if we become comfortable in our exile and feel that we are in a “home away from home,” we become vulnerable . . .
A Lesson Before Hebrew School
Nancy called my father, complaining that the school van never came to pick up her kids. It didn’t take long for my father to realize what I had done . . .
Serach, the Daughter of Asher
Who was Serach? Let us look in the Midrashic accounts—and even travel to Iran—to gain a better understanding.
Joseph Budgeted for Waste. Do You?
But in the midst of the chaos and aggravation, there is a little phrase I hold on to that helps me keep my sanity.
Till When Do You Need to Be Mr. Nice Guy?
It’s nice to be nice … until something of vital importance is at stake. (“Parsha Perks” with Dr Michael Chighel | Vayigash)
Perseverance Vs. Perfection
An Essay on Vayigash
The Joseph-Judah relationship and the points at which their paths converge continue throughout history. From the sale of Joseph onward, Judah and Joseph constantly interact with each other, and their relationship continues in various forms. Here, in Parshat Vayigash, their interaction is a confrontation, as the Midrash comments, “‘Then Judah went up to him’ – advancing to battle.”
When Things Cannot Get Any Worse
It can all feel so crippling, that it seems like there’s no way out. This week's Torah portion teaches us that there is!
The Riddle of the 10 Donkeys
When you have occasion to give, give generously. Let the receiver know that you do so with enthusiasm and a full heart.
Weekly Sermonette
No Time to Weep
For others we can cry, but for ourselves we must act
We're Not Alone
Surely the greatest miracle of our generation is that after Auschwitz Jews still wanted to be Jewish. What has kept us going? What has convinced us that there's a point to rebuilding our families, our communities and our homeland?
Wandering Too Far?
What toll have the wanderings of the Jews taken on our national psyche? What consequences have there been to our spiritual and cultural identities as a result of centuries of globetrotting, usually out of urgent necessity rather than choice?
Joseph's Message
It was not enough for Jacob to discover that Joseph was still alive physically. He needed to hear that he was also alive spiritually.
Life's Passages
Never Alone
A Long-Lost Reunion With a Lasting Message
For 22 agonizing years, they had been separated, with Jacob fearing the worst. What will happen at their first meeting?
Parshah Insights
Do You Know Your Soul?
The story of Joseph revealing himself to his brothers after decades of bitter separation is one of the most dramatic in the Torah. On a deeper level, it describes the moment of self-revelation in which our deepest soul makes itself known to us
A Thought for the Week
Vintage Wine or Split Peas
The significance of the two food gifts Joseph is said to have sent to Jacob from Egypt
"Joseph, My Son, Still Lives"
For Friday Night
Two Kinds of Power
At first sight this might seem a pathetic, powerless pleading: the cringing Jew, Judah, facing the Egyptian Vizier...
The Promise
Division and Unity
Action and Meaning
We need feeling and responsiveness. The problem is that if we base our lives only on the things to which we can easily respond we may miss some very important connections.
Parshah Musings
The Challenge of the Rich
Joseph had suffered horribly. No one would have been surprised had these assaults on his person and spirit left Joseph with a twisted personality, determined to take his every revenge on a cruel world . . .
Shiva Etiquette
A rabbi shares words you should never say to a mourner
Some things are obvious: Don't stride in and announce to all present the latest mazal tov in your family. Don't sit on the side, ignoring the mourner while chatting and giggling with a friend.
Living through the Parshah
Judah's Chutzpah
My voice of insecurity whispered: perhaps if we were lower key he'd be less hostile? Is our Jewish pride fueling his anti-Semitism? On the other hand, why should I compromise my identity as a Jew to appease his racist rage?
Parshah Moment
18-Year-Old Matzah
A moment of faith does not separate between long-lost loves. It holds them together...
What the Rebbe Taught Me
Confessions of an Outreach Worker
I confess. There were times I wanted to make a bonfire on Shabbat. And play my guitar on a Jewish holiday. And to do away with the divider that separates men and women in the synagogue...
True Leadership
Joseph Prince of Egypt
Joseph is portrayed as a bundle of emotion with tears his constant companion. Is this the Joseph who found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh to the degree that he was appointed viceroy of the mighty Egypt?
Parshah Messages
Anger Management 101
We all experience the pain of being treated unjustly by others. Anger is the natural reaction, yet it's counter-productive and often self-destructive. The story of Joseph and his brothers teaches us how to deal with these feelings...
The Defining Haircut
Education is, and always has been, the key to Jewish survival. But the essence of education is the imparting of values, not information.
Inner Stream
Can We Tolerate Tolerance?
Has someone accused you of lacking tolerance and in the process became intolerant toward you?
The Path to Repentance
Your brothers sell you into slavery, and years later they beg you for food. What would you do to them?
Love Among Brothers
The Fake Enemy
The purpose of the exercise was to move Jacob and family from Hebron to Egypt, about 200 miles as the crow flies across the Sinai Peninsula. But what a convoluted route this exercise took!
Holy War
In Jewish tradition, prayer is an activity with distinctly violent connotations . . .
Parshah Recovery
A Useful Double Standard
Why did each one cry over the other's future calamity? They faced similar fates. Why then did they not both cry for themselves?
More Parshah Articles
Do You Have a Father?
What kind of question did Joseph ask his brothers? Doesn't everybody have a father?
The Synergy of Plant and Earth
The encounter between Judah and Joseph—a Kabbalistic perspective.
A Rift Extending Across History
From the rivalry between Leah and Rachel, through the animosity between Joseph and his brothers, the clash between Saul and David, the split between Judah and Israel, to the dual nature of the messianic redemption—a rift and twinship that extends across history.
Covenant & Conversation
Joseph the Reframer
Maimonides called his ideal type of human being – the sage – a rofe nefashot, a “healer of souls.
The Day Forgiveness was Born
This is the first recorded moment in history in which one human being forgives another.
Choice and Change
Judah—more than anyone else in the Torah—changes.
Beyond Speech
On the Haftarah: One Nation Under Judah
For the haftarah of Vayigash, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
Judah Vs. Joseph
The confrontation between Judah and Joseph is deeper and more meaningful than just a story. It is two worldviews colliding.
The Egyptian Exile Begins: A Quantum View
The money and the possessions of the Jewish people are very precious to G-d, because in them are found these holy sparks that we are meant to uplift.
What Do You Think?
What Was Joseph Thinking?
The story of Joseph and his brothers is confounding. What was Joseph’s agenda? Why did he devise this intricate plan that included framing his younger brother?
Torah Insights
The Estate of Goshen
We may feel that we are enslaved by the lure of the material, that we are trapped by its grip. Yet, the Torah reminds us that we have the power to free ourselves from its gravitational pull.
The Freeman Files
Good From Bad
Dip First
If there is anything to fear, it is that we may make peace with all that is bad and ugly in this world.
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