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Ari Saks
214 followers -
I'm a big picture, fun loving, question asking, God loving (and fearing), Philly sports crazy guy
I'm a big picture, fun loving, question asking, God loving (and fearing), Philly sports crazy guy

214 followers
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Read the megillah with this video!

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Beginning with Abraham, the Israelites are in constant search for home. Their existence is predicated upon the constant search for home and the reality of living in the diaspora or exile. Is it possible for the Israelites to truly ever reach home? Is it possible for us to ever find our true home? Or is life a constant search for it, with lots of stops along the way.

We'll look at this question through Abraham's search for home and in particular his sojourn in the land of the Philistines for "many days" (Genesis 21:34). 

Join us for this fascinating class on finding home.

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Prayer is more than words, it's an emotion. More concretely, it's an emotional response to the realities of our lives. We find ourselves praying in good times and in bad, but when things are tough our prayers seem to get louder. No wonder then that, in the rabbinic imagination, crying that leads to tears is one of the most powerful forms of prayer that we have.

In this week's Torah class, we will explore how Tears can be a form of Prayer through the example of Hagar, Abram's maidservant, as she runs away from home.

Join us for this powerful and important class on the emotional nature of prayer.

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In the first chapter of the Torah's last portion (Deuteronomy 33), Moses grants blessings to the 12 tribes of Israel much in the same way that Jacob offers his final words to his 12 sons at the end of Genesis (Genesis 49). The parallels are striking including specific phrases and metaphors to describe the sons/tribes. What's also striking is that Moses is said to offer the tribes a "blessing" (Deuteronomy 33:1) whereas Jacob is said to offer his sons insight into what will happen in "the latter days" i.e. the future (Genesis 49:1). Since Moses seems to be doing the same thing as Jacob with using the term "blessing" does this mean that blessings have the power of telling us what will happen in the future? Can WE use blessings in this way?

Join us for a fascinating look at the power of blessings and the ability to tell the future!

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In Moses' final instruction to Israel, he warns them that if they spurn God, then God will "hide God's countenance from them" (אסתירה פני מהם) (Deuteronomy 32:20). But curiously in addition to this threat of absence, God also warns the Israelites that God's support will be directed in favor of Israel's enemies: "They incensed me with "no-gods" (בלא אל)...I'll incense them with "a no folk" (בלא עם)" (Deuteronomy 32:21). 

What is the difference between ABSTAINING from helping your friends versus AIDING your friends' enemies to hurt them? Does the identity of your friends' enemy matter? How does this relate to how we help or hurt our friends in our lives?

Join us for this interesting class on the way that God and people relate to each other.

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Blessings are all around us; some are hidden and some are plain to see. It is part of the human condition to search out blessings because we know they have power. But what is that power? What makes us yearn to say "I bless you" and to experience the feeling of being blessed?

Join us to discuss the power of blessing through the lens of four discrete blessings in this week's Torah portion (Deuteronomy 28:3-6).

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Judaism is unique because of the ubiquity of argumentation. For instance, one opinion says chicken is meat and CANNOT be eaten with milk, and another says chicken is NOT meat and CAN be eaten with milk. Can we choose any opinion we'd like? Or is there a point when the community chooses one opinion and we cannot go against it?

In this week's Torah portion we learn of the principle "lo titgodedu" ("do not gash yourselves") (Deuteronomy 14:1). We'll learn how this principle applies in its context and how it is used by the rabbis to understand how to balance making personal Jewish choices with creating a standard for the community.

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This week's Torah portion is full of goodies -- the 10 Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:6-18) and the Sh'ma (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). By way of introduction, Moses reminds the Israelites that God made a covenant "with us" (עמנו) at Horeb/Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:2). Seems simple enough. But then he follows up by saying that "God did not make a covenant with our fathers" (לא את אבותינו כרת ה' ברית) rather did so "with us" (אתנו) "here today," (פה היום) "all of us who live" (כלנו חיים) (Deuteronomy 5:3). Why the extra language? Don't we know that God made a covenant with the people from verse 2? Isn't verse 3 redundant? Perhaps, but perhaps the extra language gives us more insight as to the true audience for the important passages to follow. Maybe there were more people at the mountain than we originally thought...
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