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From the Desk of Rabbi Alter

Kol Colchester, Parshat Balak, July 15 2019

I will honor you greatly” (Numbers 22:17). We sometimes think that honor is something we deserve for the things we own, the clothes we wear, and the cars we drive, yet the Torah teaches us that true honor has nothing to do with those things. In fact,

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Korach July 4 2019

In praying to God on behalf of the Jewish people, Moses asks how it can be that one man (Korach) transgresses and God becomes upset with the entire nation. Does one man really affect the whole nation? The answer in Jewish thinking is, of course, yes. From

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Kol Colchester Parshat Bechukotai May 31 2019

The theme of Parshat Bechukotai is the “Tochacha” – a series of devastating predictions of what will befall the Jewish people throughout history – exile, anti-Semitism, persecution, and more. Yet we know how much the Almighty cares for us, and He never “punishes” without “sandwiching” it with

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Kol Colchester Parshat Behar, May 22 2019

The land will give its fruit and you will eat to satiation,” (Lev. 26:5). One of the blessings the Torah promises us is an abundance of wealth. It is interesting that it is followed by a second blessing: that we will not only be blessed with wealth,

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Kol Colchester Parshat Emor, May 15 2019

In this week’s portion, we find the commandment to sanctify God’s name – Kiddush Hashem. In essence, this entails living in such a way that others recognize Godliness in our actions and feel drawn to act similarly. Specifically, Maimonides talks about someone who is scrupulously honest in

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Kol Colchester. Parshat Acharei Mot May 2 2019

This week’s portion presents an interesting combination of themes: the service in the Temple on the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, and the laws of sexual immorality. The simple lesson here is that the foundation of being a holy person is the control of one’s

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Kol Colchester, Passover April 22 2019

Quite the shortest route for the children of Israel to the Promised Land would have been through the land of the Philistines. However, G‑d wanted to give the newly born Jewish nation the opportunity to throw off the remnants of Egyptian influence, and to educate them in the new ways of

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Metzora April 11, 2019

Parshat Metzora describes the consequences of negative speech, loshon hara. “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Whoever made that one up is either naive or deaf. While we might tell our children not to be bothered, the reality is that words

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Tazria, April 7 2019

The affliction of tzara’at comes primarily as a result of loshon hara – talking badly about others. The Sages make an amazing statement in the Talmud. They say that to speak negatively about another person is worse than murder. I think everyone would agree that it is terrible to speak negatively

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Tzav March 21 2019

One of the commandments in this week’s Torah portion is to remove the ashes from the Altar. Certain parts of the sacrifices were burned and the ashes were removed by the priests every day before sunrise. This was the only part of the Temple service that was

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