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Dannin

Ellen Dannin

 Ellen Dannin

Contributions

Title
Malachim I don't know why I'm here. Well, of course I know in the sense that this is supposed to be a dvar torah about Bereshit.But that doesn't begin to touch on ...
Tamar and Judah

There is so much wonderful meat for discussion in the Joseph story that it is easy to skip or skim the story of Judah and Tamar - or of Tamar and Judah - to get back to ...

The Other Side of Slavery Each year at Passover, we are asked to recall that we were once slaves and strangers and no matter who we are now to act according to this heritage. Although it might be hard to ...
Ad Bo-eina Shama - Until We Are There After the plague of darkness - three days of darkness so thick the Egyptians could not see one another or leave their homes - Pharaoh told Moses the children of Israel they could leave but they must ...
Reconstructing Biblical Views on Impurity Following Childbirth Tazria is an uncomfortable parsha. Amidst a parsha on leprosy are commandments concerning uncleanliness after childbirth. Even worse, it appears that a woman is twice as defiled if she gives birth to a daughter. Once ...
Blood References to blood appear at least sixty-five times in the Torah, and more, depending on how you do the counting and excluding references to menses. In this parashah, it appears primarily in connection with sacrifices (...
The Red Heifer Nehama Leibowitz says this is one of the most mystifying parts of the Torah, "one of the matters which even the wisdom of the wisest of men failed to fathom." Certainly, you can ...
A Curse Turned Blessing I - maybe we - tend to think of Our Story as encapsulated in the exodus from Mitzrayim and the entry into the Promised Land. But our story is more than leaving and arriving. Most of it ...
Think Like a Lawyer Shoftim (Judges) commands us to think like a lawyer.My job as someone who trains lawyers means thinking about the process of harnessing an undisciplined mind and forcing it to think systematically. For those who ...
Between a Rock and a Hard Place The Torah constantly puts us between a rock and a hard place . . . literally.Take Ha'azinu, for example. A few years ago I first noticed something interesting about rocks while reading Ha'azinu, Moses' farewell ...
Future Prayer Isaiah 57:14-58:14Are these the words for the future prayer not yet in our mahzor, the one all the generations after us will recite?We heard the prophet say: "Prepare, prepare the road - clear away ...
Moses Died With a Promised Land Why was Moses barred from entering the promised land? It upsets our sense of fairness. There must be a reason for this disentitlement, for how else to explain why the great leader, the one who ...
Grounded Engagement Connects Us To Infinite Joy I used to have interesting conversations with a friend who had studied for the Catholic priesthood in his youth. We talked about questions of ethics and morality from the perspectives of our two traditions. In ...
Forever is Forever There are as many ways to approach the Torah as there are people. For example, I am the kind of person who likes to sit off to the side when I go to our local ...
Drawing Close to Sacrifice When Adar comes in, our happiness is increased. But when Vayikra comes in, we feel as if the Promised Land of great stories and heroes is far, far away. Torah scholars through the centuries have ...
Between Death and Death Aharey Mot Leviticus 16:1 - 18:30 Between Death and Death This d'var Torah is driven by the context in which I write it. In the last month, I have been surrounded by death and disease. The news ...
Making God Appear in Our Lives and Through Our Lives It is in Va'era that we first read of Pharaoh's hardening his heart. Of course, Pharaoh is not alone in having a hardened heart. It seems to be a common human affliction. A ...
In This Place, In This Moment For four years I spent the long Thanksgiving weekend with my sister and brother as we watched and waited as our mother died a terrible, undignified, painful death. And it all comes back as this ...
Desire and Fear In the context of the the December holidays and the secular New Year, Dannin looks are the end of Jacob's life in the context of it's bounty, but rather a love which has negotiated deep longings and deep trepidations.
Walking with Joseph’s Bones Dvar Torah examines why it took so long for the descendants of Joseph to bring his bones back to the Land of Israel.
Filling the Earth With God's Presence Dannin looks at some of the laws written in the Mishpatim and challenges the reader to see their relevance, even if they may seem distant at first. Attending to the needs of our neighbors as well as the stranger are injunctions from the Torah which we must not avoid.
Dress of the High Priest had Deep Meanings The dress of the High Priest is not about the external garb of a man, it goes much deeper.
Sickness, Separation and Openings Ellen Dannin sees Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12-15), a portion that deal with the priests' handling of disease, in a new light after going through knee surgery. Ancient sensibilities became more resonant with her own experience.
Living the Good Life Ellen Dannin looks for answers about the meaning of life and its toughest questions and instead finds complexity in Parashat Ekev.
Tamar the Hidden Dannin eloquently summarizes the story of Judah and Tamar and argues for the a reading which sees the strength and importance of Tamar's character.
Hebrew Text Full of Untranslatable Resonances Dannin unpacks the rich Hebrew resonances of many of the words at the beginning of Genesis.
Our Akeidah, Our Binding Impressionistic, first person, emotional response to the Binding of Isaac story. This portion is read as part of the annual Torah reading cycle but it was also picked out, at least since rabbinic times, to be read on Rosh Hashanah, the New Year Festival.
On Jonah and More: Getting Perspective in Order to Repent Rich commentary on Jonah, his motivations, and what we all need to fulfill our calling.
Connecting the Dots In this Dvar Torah, Dannin connects the collections of deceipts in Jacob's life and his inability to fully reconcile with Esau with the the rape of Dina and the murder of the inhabbitants upon Jacob's arrival in Shechem.
And God Blessed Nadav and Abihu Ellen Dannin mulls over whether the deaths of Nadav and Avihu were a reward or a punishment.
Sins of Emission? Dvar Torah on parashat Metzora. Ellen Danin concludes, "Every society, when examined from outside seems exotic. In our case, we might ask why it is that, while the rules concerning seminal emissions and dove sacrifice seem to be a dead letter, those regarding menstruation continue to affect and...
Avraham, Happiness, and God's Open Hand Avraham's life in this parasha reflects the key points of the Ashrei. Just as the Ashrei is about abundance and gratitude, God gives Avraham wealth, power, a destiny, and a mission. In turn, Avraham shows gratitude for what he has.
Isaac - Digger of Wells Our greatest task is to be a link in a chain from generation to generation. Sometimes achieving that goal has meant being Abraham and leaving our native land. And sometimes it has left us, like Isaac, redigging wells, recovering what has been buried and thought lost.
What God Promised What is the meaning of Jacob's dream? There seem to be multiple meanings.