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From the Desk of Rabbi Alter

Kol Colchester, November 6 2018, Parshat Toldot

In this week’s Torah portion, we see that while Esau is a man of violent nature, Jacob is very much his opposite. The Sages tell us that even in the womb, when Rebecca passed a Temple of idols, Esau would be pushing to get out, and when

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Kol Colchester November 2, 2018

Avraham says to Eliezer] “And I will have you swear by Hashem, God of heaven and God of earth, that you not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.” (Gen. 24:3) After the Akeida, Avraham resolved to seek

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Kol Colchester 10-27-18

We’ve all made mistakes and bad decisions in life and unfortunately we sometimes have a problem getting those mistakes out of our system. This week, the Torah warns us that looking back and focusing too much on the past can result in spiritual and physical stagnation. Lot’s

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Vayelech, September 14 2018

I love the song Dear Prudence,” from the White Album? I am told that the song came from when the Beatles were in Bangor with the Maharishi. There was a girl there called Prudence who went into a coma and the song was written for her: “Look

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Ki Tavo, August 30, 2018

And you shall take of the first of every fruit of the ground… (Deut. 26:2) The Parsha begins with the commandment of Bikkurim, the first fruits. The farmer is to take his first ripened fruits to the temple and present them to the Cohen. The Midrash teaches

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Kol Colchester, Shoftim August 17 2018

Every person has one thing that he is living for. Let’s call it a “personal bottom line.” For some it is money, for others prestige, for others pursuit of pleasure. Now let’s imagine that you’re faced with a situation where you are about to lose everything –

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Ekev, August 2 2018

Parshat Ekev tells of the special mitzvah to love converts. Converts hold a special status in Jewish life, since they did the heroic deed of leaving their familiar surroundings, and casting their destiny with the Jewish people. Many of our greatest ancestors – Abraham, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel

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Kol Colchester Vaetchanan July 27, 2018

In the Shema, we say, “You shall love God with all your heart, with all your life and with all your possessions.” This is a commandment to be willing to give up even our lives and our possessions in the pursuit of meaning. The Sages explain that

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Kol Colchester Parshat Devarim, July 18, 2018

The Sages tell us that Moses did not rebuke the Jewish people until right before he died. They cite other examples of people who only gave rebuke right before their passing from this world – Jacob to his sons, Samuel to the Jewish people, and a few

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Maasey July 12 2018

“You will be clean in God’s eyes and in the eyes of the nation” (Numbers 32:22). The Jewish nation is about to enter the Land of Israel and two of the 12 tribes seem to want to avoid their responsibility to join their brethren in the battle

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