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From the Desk of Rabbi Alter

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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Kol Colchester, Parshat Pinchas July 7 2018

Kol Colchester Parshat Pinchas tells of the heroic deed of Pinchas, who jumped up with spear in his hand to save the Jewish people from a plague of immorality. When the moment called for bold action, Pinchas was ready and willing to step forward. Later in the

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Kol Colchester Balak June 6 2018

In this week’s Torah portion, Bilaam’s great praise for the Jewish people is found  in the famous words that begin our daily prayers and that every Bar/Bat Mitzvah child knows by heart: Ma tovu ohalecha Yaakov – “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob” (Numbers 24:5). The Sages explain

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Kol Colchester, Parachat Korach, June 15 2018

Korach is a classic example of a person with great potential, who made wrong decisions. The Sages tell us that Korach was a wise man. He was chosen to be one of the select few who were spiritually fitting to carry the Ark of the Covenant. The

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