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From the Desk of Rabbi Alter

Kol Colchester Parshat Softim, Sept 6 2019

As Moses comes to the end of his life he urges the Jewish nation to make sure its court system is established with “highly qualified judges who also have impeccable character” (Deut. 16:18). One of the ideas behind this is that knowledge is not enough. Our interactions

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Kol Colchester Parshat Reeh, 8-30-19

  “You shall surely open your hand” (Deut. 15:11). When the Torah tells us that we should help someone, it always uses the same Hebrew word twice. The English translation doesn’t quite account for this and translates it as “surely help.” Similarly, when the Torah tells us

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Kol Colchester Parshat Ekev

In this portion, Moses makes an amazing statement: “And now, Israel, what does God ask from you other than to fear Him…” (Deut. 10:12) Moses has just given us commandment, after commandment, after commandment in God’s name. And near the end of it all, what does he

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Kol Colchester, Parshat D’Varim

“The primary purpose of a man’s life is to constantly strive to improve break his character traits. Otherwise, what is life for?” Vilna Gaon – Even Shleimah (1:2) Every year the Jewish People prepares for Tisha B’Av with the Torah reading of Devarim. The focal point is

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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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