Sign In Forgot Password

Divrei Torah - Guests and Members

These talks were delivered by members and guests on Shabbat and holidays.

Other talks by members, including some High Holyday talks, are available in Members’ Writings (members only).


Parashat Sh'lach L'kha Haftarah: Rahab the Harlot

Rahab Hiram Webbe


In this week's parsha, Shlach Lkha ("Send for yourself"), we read about Moshe sending twelve spies into the land of Canaan, the despair-inducing report ten of them relay upon their return, the contrasting hopeful report that the other two give, and the divine consequences dealt to Moshe and his people as a result of losing their faith and succumbing to their fears despite what God Itself has promised them. The parasha concludes...Read more...

Parashat Terumah D'var Torah by Phillys Kantor

Phillys Kantor

Today’s Parsha is one that is close to my heart. Terumah Exodus 25 -27. This portion of the Exodus story is about the building of the Mishkan and goes into minute detail. It can be tedious for some, but is very important to me, as it influenced my work and my career as a Judaic Weaver. It begins this way:

God spoke to Moses, saying: “Tell the Israelite people to bring me gifts; you shall accept gifts for...Read more...

Thoughts on participating in CDT's first Learner’s Minyan

Mark Schafer

In my late forties, I began making short visits to the city where my grandparents grew up: a city in Poland or Latvia. I’d only been there briefly as a child, so the smells, sounds, and look of the place felt familiar, but I had no idea where anything was or how to get around. All the street signs and the names on the bus routes were in a language I barely knew and could barely read. As I walked around the city, the sound of people speaking...Read more...

MLK Shabbat D'var Torah 2022

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling

Click "READ MORE" below for the link to the video recording.

Shabbat Shalom, thank you for inviting me, I wish that we were in person even so it is a true pleasure to be with you.

In today’s parsha we celebrate crossing the Red Sea, so it seems appropriate to begin with these words of Dr King from 1967, the last speech that he gave to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

“And so we still have a...

Earth Day D'var 2021

Ezra Hausman

This week's Torah portion concerns a mysterious affliction called tzara'at that apparently can afflict the skin of an individual, the clothing, or even a house. We don't know what this affliction was, and I think it is pretty clear that the authors of the text didn't know either - except that it appears to have been pervasive and scary, but not irreversible. Many commentators have taken it to be a spiritual ailment as much as a physical one,...Read more...

Rabbi Everett Gendler Shabbat Shuvah 2020

Rabbi Everett Gendler

Audio File included.

Toba, thank you so very much. It was a beautiful service. Both of you and all of you who are present are very generous in welcoming me to your community. You know, in some sense,  I haven't the proper qualifications to be speaking to you right now. After all, I'm not physically present, though, I suppose none of us is in that sense, but I've not had the pleasure of actually visiting your...Read more...

From Priests to Maskilim - What does dress matter?

Dr. Frances Malino

Shabbat shalom!

It is an especially joyful Shabbat for me today for along with my Dorshei community I am also surrounded by members of my family.

As I read today’s parasha in preparation for my d’var, I smiled to myself.  My d’var comes a day after my birthday—often a time when memories of our parents come to mind.  And my mother—of this I have no doubt-- would have taken great delight in today’s...Read more...

Dr. Lawrence Rosenwald on  January 25th, 2020

On va’era and Name

Va’era was my bar mitzvah portion.  That isn’t to say that I learned it when I was thirteen, since at that time I had no Jewish community or Jewish knowledge.  Rather I learned it when I was on my way to turning sixty-four.  In the intervening years I’d become moderately observant, I’d often been called to the Torah, I’d led services, but I hadn’t leyned. ...Read more...

My Jewish Journey - Rosh Hashanah day 1, 2019

LilyFish Gomberg



Good Morning! If you haven’t yet met me, my name is Lily Fisher Gomberg, I go by LilyFish & I use she and they pronouns.

This is my eighteenth time attending Rosh Hashannah services at Dorshei Tzedek, so I know that these Jewish Journeys usually end with; “and that’s how I ended up here.” But- I’m only 21. I didn’t end up here, I started here.

My mom, Diana, and my dad, Richard, joined...

The Gifts We Bring

The Rev’d. Gretchen Sanders Grimshaw

The Gifts We Bring
February 9, 2019
The Rev’d. Gretchen Sanders Grimshaw
Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, West Newton , MA

Exodus 25.1-19

25The Lord said to Moses: 2Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me. 3This is the offering that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4blue, purple, and crimson yarns...Read more...

Poetry from Yom Kippur 5779

Ben Newman, Josette Akresh-Gonzales, and Jo Radner


On Yom Kippur, Dorshei Tzedek members and poets Ben Newman, Josette Akresh-Gonzales, and Jo Radner explored the Avodah service, a part of the traditional Yom Kippur liturgy, to find their own meaning of Yom Kippur. They shared original poems- beautiful, powerful, relatable and diverse- to invite us to reflect on our own experiences of the day. You can read their poetry at the links below.

The Trumpet Player
by...

Violent Death, Violent Birth

Matilda Bruckner


Violent Death Violent Birth.pdf

Violent Death, Violent Birth

D’var Torah on Sh’mot, Exodus 1:1 – 6:1: Israel in Egypt, the beginning of their exodus and the story of Moses

Dedicated to Ruth Bruckner, my mother-in-law—her yahrzeit coincides this year with the date of her death on New Year’s Eve, 1969

Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner
29 December 2018

In last...

Kol Nidre Sermon

Rabbi Shahar Colt

“When a person departs from the world, all their deeds come and present themselves to him one by one, saying: “This is what you did on day X. Do you believe it?” The person responds: “Yes, I do.” The deed then says: “Sign!” — and the person signs. Then the person vindicates God’s judgment, saying: “You judge me correctly.”

This ancient midrash from the sifre, a rabbinic commentary on the book of Devarim,...Read more...

D’var Torah B’ha’alot’kha

Dr. Judith Kates


D’var Torah B'ha'alotkha 2018.pdf

Summertime brings us every year in our cycle of Torah readings to a difficult place called in Hebrew “midbar” which I’ll translate as ‘wilderness.’ The entire book of the Torah read in synagogue through these lovely months called reassuringly the book of Numbers in English, has a more ominous name in Hebrew- sefer b’midbar- the book in the wilderness. Playing on that name,...Read more...

So that I may Dwell among Them (parshah Terumah)

Stan Fleischman


So That I may Dwell among Them.pdf

Where does God Live?

I never thought that I would be delivering a d’var Torah, with so much of a focus on God, since “God language” makes me uncomfortable. But, when Matilda asked me if I would deliver a d’var Torah and told me the possible dates, I said to myself, “Hmm I’ll give myself a few days to research the parshiot for those dates and come up with a...Read more...

Living in Two Worlds: The Legacy of Vayikra

Deborah Waber



Living in Two Worlds: The Legacy of Vayikra

Deborah Waber

Shabbat Vayikra (March 16, 2013)


This week, we began reading the book of Vayikra, or Leviticus. Although sometimes characterized as the “priestly instruction manual,” it also contains ritual commands for the laity, including dietary and...Read more...

History and Memories: Past and Present

Fran Malino


History and Memories d'var Torah.pdf

History and Memories:  Past and Present


As an historian, and especially as a Jewish historian, I have often wrestled with the dialogue between history and memory.  For perhaps in no religious tradition are memory and history more interwoven than in Judaism.  When God...Read more...

Advocacy and Hard Hearted Pharaoh

Ellie Goldberg

Parshat Va'era 5774


D’var on Parshat Va’era 

Background: God has finally heeded the cries of the Israelites and calls Moses to go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out to a land flowing with milk and honey.

Moses is the reluctant advocate but teams up with Aaron, and after God tells Moses the script of how God is going to direct the action, we see the play unfold.

Shmot...

Parashah Terumah

Cindy Rivka Marshall

Feb 1, 2014/5774

PDF version

Picture us, the Israelites, at the foot of the mountain. The smell of smoke lingers in the air. The trembling of the mountain still has us trembling. We have received the 10 commandments. Here we are, saying yes to Adonai, yes to agreeing to live by the Torah and to teach our children the Torah. Our first instruction is we must remember our past and have compassion for the stranger, for others. We,...Read more...

VA-YETSE: (And He Went Forth)

Linda Yael Schiller


VA-YETSE: (And He Went Forth)

Linda Yael Schiller

Davar Torah




 (And He Went Forth)


Marsha Norman tells us that  “dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you”, and the Talmud...Read more...

Shabbat HaChodesh: Reconstructing Passover

Pesach 5772

Reconstructing Passover, by Rabbi Mordechai Liebling

Shabbat shalom, it is an honor, a privilege and a pleasure for me to be here; a wonderful occasion to celebrate. This is Shabbat Hachodesh and our extra torah reading is from Exodus, the initial commandment and description for observing Passover. The rabbi’s inserted this reading to remind us to prepare for the holiday. Today I am suggesting some...Read more...


Louise Enoch



In this week’s parsha, Jacob starts out on a journey. This is not just a geographic journey, but one that begins his transformation from deceitful young man to revered patriarch of the Children of Israel. Before I share with you what I have learned during this journey with Jacob, let me first review the action that takes place between Jacob’s departure from Beer Sheba and his leave taking of Laban many years...Read more...

Process Theology and the story of Bilam and his Donkey

Stan Fleischman


Process Theology and the story of Bilam and his Donkey

Process Theology and the story of Bilam and his Donkey

Stan Fleischman

June 26, 2010

Parshah Balak is about a talking donkey and its owner, the non-Israelite prophet Bilam, who utters the words “How Fair are your tents, O Jacob, Your dwellings, O Israel” which made it into the Jewish liturgy, and which we read at the very...Read more...

D'var S'phirat Ha-Omer: Counting of the Omer

Esther Kohn


S'phirat Omer 2010.pdf

I am in awe of the spring. For some reason it seems more miraculous this year. I’ve already bonded with my garden, sinking my hands deep into the soil, raking the dirt to wake it up. I uprooted a dying shrub and planted a lilac sapling that my neighbor gave me. I think it worked, it’s actually starting to bud. Each day our devoted perennials, the irises, the lilies, the tulips, they’re all...Read more...

D'var Noach

Susan Nitkin


noach - susan nitkinl.pdf

“Adonai remembered Noach and all the beasts and all the animals that were with him in the ark, and Adonai caused a spirit to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, and the rain from heaven was restrained. The waters then receded from upon the earth, receding continuously, and the waters diminished at the end of a...Read more...

Parshas Vayeshev

Lisa Port White

December, 2009/5770

mamas dvar

I began thinking of this Torah portion two years ago, or so, when we decided that this would be the date of my daughter Nellie’s bat mitzvah. The date for her birthday weekend was taken, so we thought, why not pick a cool portion and, heck, get a Hallel service to boot? And the cake possibilities for Vayeshev were just too good to pass up.

Until about three months ago, I was...

Tim Gunn meets the Prophet Elijah

Susannah Zisk

Pesach, April, 3, 2010/5770 TimGunnmeetsElijah.pdf


Tim Gunn meets the Prophet Elijah

April 3, 2010 



Drawing Closer - Dvar Torah on Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1–5:26)

Stan Fleischman



I. Introduction

Today we started reading the third book of the Torah, called Vayikra. This is also the name of the first parsha in this book. The name derives from the first Hebrew word in the parsha “And He called” – referring to Adonai calling out to Moses from the tent of Meeting (Mishkan).

Vayikra is commonly known by its Greek name, Leviticus, so called because it contains the...Read more...

D'var Tazria/Metzora -- (Leviticus 12:1–15:33)

Esther Kohn


D'var Tazria/Metzora

You gotta love Leviticus. Bodily fluids, pus, sores, rashes, discoloration, fungus, ah the list goes on. I was lucky enough to select April 25 to offer a d’var torah. This year, as in most non-leap years, it’s a double header, not just one parsha but two, two wonderful parshot, Tazria and Metzora, that describe everything you wanted to know about skin affliction and more. Challenging, yes. And I...Read more...

Parshah Shemot: Burning Bush? What Burning Bush?

Susannah Zisk

January, 2009 5769 Burning Bush.pdf


Burning bush? What burning bush? 

“An angel of the lord appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed. Moses said ‘I must...Read more...

Sun, July 21 2024 15 Tammuz 5784