You're the Commentator


Friday, April 12, 2013


If you are using this blog, I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions.  Please feel free to comment on the blog, and share your thoughts with others.
Looking forward to reading what you write.

Monday, February 11, 2013


In this week's parsha we read about building the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, where God can be present among the people.  You can see a video here that describes how the structure was created.  If you want to see pictures (instead of cartoons) you can go to a search engine and enter the words "Mishkan images" and you will find many beautiful pictures of what everything might have looked like.  Or just click here.

Does your synagogue look like this?  Probably not.  I know mine doesn't!  Why do you think this is so?  To help you answer, think about the following three questions:

What was the purpose of the Mishkan?
What is the purpose of your synagogue?
Compare and contrast - how are they similar, how are they different.

Please feel free to post your ideas for others to share.  Remember, you're the commentator.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Wow! Last week there were Ten Commandments, this week about a gazillion more! And we're just getting started with commandments to the Israelite people!

Let's look at just one situation in this week's parasha.

If an ox gores someone, the ox should be killed...but the owner is not responsible. However, if the ox was known to be vicious, and the owner was aware of it, then the owner IS responsible for what the ox did.
(Exodus 21:28,29)

Now, you probably don't have an ox. But you might have a pet - a dog, a cat, a hamster, or maybe goldfish. I would imagine your hamster or goldfish probably aren't a danger to anyone, but what about the dog or cat? According to what you read, what should happen if your dog bites someone (according to the text it should be put down, but that's the end of the story)

What if your dog has a reputation in the neighborhood for biting? And you know about it? Is this a different story (according to what you read it certainly is)

Why do you think this is so? What does it tell you about your responsibility for things you own?

What do you think? Do you agree or not? Explain your answer. X

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


When Yitro meets up with Moshe in the desert he sees that there is a problem - too much work, too little time. It seems to him that Moshe is trying to do everything himself, without help. What would you suggest to Moshe if you were Yitro? Read what Yitro said to Moshe here:
21 Moreover you shallprovide out of all the people able men, God-fearing men, men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place them in charge to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
In your own words, what did Yitro suggest? Why do you think Moshe took this suggestion? When someone makes a suggestion to you, how do you decide whether or not to follow it? Think about it and share your ideas in the comments below.

Monday, January 16, 2012


In the parsha we read this week are the descriptions of some - but not all- of the plagues that afflicted the Egyptians.

Which plagues are described in this parsha?
Can you figure out from the text which ones affected only the Egyptians?
Which ones affected both the Egyptians and the Israelites?

Why do you think there is a distinction?
Wich plagues would bother you the most? Why?
Which plagues do you think bothered the Egyptians the most? Why?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hayei Sarah

Isaac and his brother Ishmael were separated when Ishmael's mother Hagar was sent away from the family. When their father Avraham dies, they come together to bury him.

Is there someone in your family you haven't seen or spoken to for a long time? What would help you renew your relationship?

How can you heal relationships that have "gone bad"?
Why might you want to?

Monday, November 7, 2011


In case you didn't see last year's post, click on the label "VaYera" below this post!

This is the portion in which Abraham seems to negotiate with God about the fate of the cities of Sedom and Amorrah.  Will God punish everyone in the city even if there are 50 good people?  45?  40?  35?  30?  20?  10?  That's where Abraham and God finish the conversation.  As you can read, there are not even 10 good people, and the city is destroyed.
  1. Why do you think Abraham had this conversation with God?
  2. Why do you think God was willing to save the city if there were 10 good people, but not fewer than that?
  3. Do you think it's fair to punish good people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?  What if there were 8 good people in the city?
  4. What do you think would have happened to the bad people of Sedom if God had found enough good people to save the city?  Would they have gone without punishment, or do you think they would have been punished eventually?

What do you think?
Be sure to share your answers by commenting on this blog