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From the Desk of Rabbi Alter

Kol Colchester, Parshat Shemini Laws of Kashrut

Food plays a major role in Jewish life. Imagine a wedding or bar mitzvah without food. It would be like a pub with no alcohol. What would be the point? For a culture that is so focused on food, then, it makes sense to have many rules

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Kol Colchester, Passover edition

This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt.” Seder night is the night we all gather together and, well, complain! The Haggadah wants you to know how bad they had it back in Egypt. Oy, the matzah! Strange. Very strange

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Vayikra, March 15 2018

Parshat Vayikra discusses the “Oleh v’Yored” offering – literally the “up-and-down” offering – so called because it had three levels, based on one’s financial ability: A wealthy person would bring a cow; a middle-class person brings a bird; and a poor person brings an offering of flour.

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Kol Colchester Parshat Vayakhel Pekudei

Kol Colchester Parshat Vayakhel Pekudei Moses asked the Jewish people to donate gold, silver and copper for the construction of the Tabernacle. Seemingly, the most valuable and precious of these metals was gold, second was silver, and most plentiful and least valuable was copper. But each of

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Kol Colchester Parshat Ki Tisa 3-1-18

Kol Colchester Parshat Ki Tisa The story of the Golden Calf is one of the most incredibly honest stories told by any religion. The Jewish people experience the seminal moment in its history – direct communication with God at Mount Sinai – and 40 days later, they

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Tetzaveh February 20 2018

Parshat Tetzaveh When lighting the menorah in the Tabernacle, Aaron the High Priest is commanded to “raise the flame” of each of the seven lights. Rashi, commenting on this enigmatic expression, explains it to mean that Aaron should hold the light by the menorah until the flame

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Kol Colchester Parshat Trumah, February 14 2018

Parshat Trumah begins with God’s instruction to “take a donation” for the Tabernacle. This sounds strange. Shouldn’t the Torah have instructed us to “give a donation”? The explanation is that giving ― for the right reason and to a proper recipient ― is also a form of taking. You

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Kol Colchester, February 3 2018, Parsaht Yitro

Parshat Yitro tells of the revelation at Mount Sinai and the giving of the Ten Commandments. The commandments were written on two tablets, but there was a distinct difference: The first tablet contained mitzvot between people and God – e.g., “Believe in God,” “Don’t worship other gods,” “Don’t take God’s

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Kol Colchester, January 23, 2018 Parshat Beshalach

Kol Colchester Parshat Beshalach The Egyptian army that chased the Jewish people was a pale shadow of the formidable juggernaut that it had been a year earlier. The world’s superpower had been decimated by the Ten Plagues. Most of its horses had perished. Many of its officers

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Kol Colchester, January 16, 2018

A LIFE LESSON The Egyptians had just experienced seven severe plagues that God set upon them. Even though Pharaoh had also witnessed all of it, he still remained stubborn in refusing to let all of the Jews go free. However, Pharaoh’s servants – the ones who waited

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