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From the Desk of Rabbi Alter

Kol Colchester Parshat Toldot 11-27-19

Kol Colchester Parshat Toldot The Talmud teaches us that true strength and power is not found in the ability to control others, but rather in the ability to control ourselves. Rashi (11th century) explains that anytime we are tempted to do something immoral or wrong yet restrain

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Kol Colchester Parshat Chayei Sarah

When Abraham sends Eliezer to find a wife for his son Isaac, his only real criterion is that he look for a wife among Abraham’s own family. The Mishnah tells us something similar: “Do not be distracted by beauty. Rather look at family.” It always interested me

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Kol Colchester Parshat Vayeira

Parshat Vayeira tells about an angel – disguised as an itinerant traveler – coming to Abraham and Sarah to inform them that they’ll finally have their first child together. This was a big surprise, given that Abraham was 99 years old, and Sarah was 90! In response

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Kol Colchester Parshat Lech L’cha

Hashem said to Avram, “Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Gen. 12:1) This week’s Torah portion begins with Avraham’s first trial: to give up his entire past and follow God’s lead

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Kol Colchester, Succkot October 17 2019

There is a mitzvah in the Torah to try to be like God. One of God’s characteristics is that He “sustains all the living with kindness.” Not only does He give us so many things for free, but He lifts our spirits when we are down. A

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Haazinu

In this week’s portion, God tells Moses to ascend Mount Nevo where he is to die “in the middle of the day.” The Sages explain that the Jewish people had decided they were not letting Moses go without a fight. He had taken them out of Egypt,

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Kol Colcheser Parshat Vayelech, Oct 4 2019

 Do you remember theis Beatles 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

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Kol Colchester, Parshat Ki Tavo, Sept 19 2019

One of the underlying themes of the Torah is the importance of developing a sense of gratitude, both to God for all the blessings He has given us, and to anyone who does anything for us. In fact, the Torah tells us that gratitude is one of

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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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