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Home Authors Articles by Rabbi Mordecai Finley

Rabbi Mordecai Finley

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26 ARTICLES 0 COMMENTS
Rabbi of Ohr HaTorah Synagogue in Mar Vista, CA

The Unification of the Soul – Shabbat VaYishlach 2021

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  The Unification of the Soul Torah Portion VaYishlach 2021 (adapted from previous versions) In the Torah we are taught to love God, “with all your heart,...

Torah Portion Chayyei Sarah – Life Torn and Sewn Back Together

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(Introduction 2021: Our Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, is a good example of how the Bible changes its rhythm for literary purpose. The Bible is...

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Ruminations on Highway 61 (Shabbat Vayeira 2021) (adapted from earlier versions)     Highway 61 runs down from the city of Wyoming in Minnesota, and down to...

Destruction and Regeneration Thoughts on Torah Portion Noah

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  Destruction and Regeneration Thoughts on Torah Portion Noah (adapted from previous versions) I imagine warring bands of murderous maniacs, spreading ruination everywhere they went. Anyone who...

Gratitude and Happiness Within – Chol Ha-Mo’ed Sukkot

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Preface For Friday September 24th I have spoken to many people who had really incredible Yom Kippur experiences. Their Sukkot has becoe dwellings of transformation....

From the Shadow to the Comforting Shade – Thoughts on the Days of Awe...

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The Days of Awe and Days of Joy (Rosh HaShanah, the 10 Days of Turning, Yom Kippur and Sukkot) form a powerful spiritual path,...

The Great Order – Comments for Shabbah Shuvah

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  The Great Order Comment on Shabbat Shuvah – coinciding with Torah portion Va-Yeilekh The tension between order and chaos is core to every facet of the...

Thoughts Before Rosh HaShanah 2021 (coinciding with Nitzavim)

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The Orchestra Thoughts Before Rosh HaShanah 2021 (coinciding with Nitzavim)   I have two different competing thoughts as I think about the core theme of Rosh HaShana...

The Shadow Side – Thoughts on Torah Portion Ki Teitzei 2021

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    Preface to Shabbat Thought Friday 20 Aug 21: We went to very deep places this week in our wisdom classes on Wednesday night, experiences...

Revering, Walking, Loving, Serving – Torah Portion Ekev

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Revering, Walking, Loving, Serving Reflections of Torah portion Ekev 2021 (from previous versions)   This week’s Torah potion, Ekev, has a section that I encourage you to...

Torah Portion Va-Etchanan – The First of the Seven Weeks

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Torah Portion Va-Etchanan - The First of the Seven Weeks This week is the first of seven weeks that take us to Rosh HaShanah....

Finding Refuge/Teaching in Exile – Comments on Torah Portions Mattot-Massei

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Reflections on Torah Portion Mattot-Masei Teaching in Exile This week’s Torah portion is a double portion. The reason we have double portions is so that during...

Curses – Thoughts on Torah portion Balak

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Curses Thoughts on Torah Portion Balak 2021 Unbeknownst to the Israelites, great hostility is brewing just over the next hill. The main focus of this...

Torah Portion Shelach Lekha Number 13-15 “The Greater Part of Valor”

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    The Greater Part of Valor Thoughts on Torah Portion Shelach Lekha 2021 (adapted from previous versions) All Ohr HaTorah regulars know about my little bit of...

Seventh Day Passover – The Second Step into the Sea

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  In the Bible, Passover is a seven-day observance, with the first and last days being holidays. The middle days are called “chol ha-mo’ed” “the...

Moonshine – Passover Thought 2021

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Moonshine – Passover Thought 2021 (adapted from prior years) Our Seder plans, recipes, programs and the conducting of the Seder can be complex, especially in...

Shabbat HaGadol – Live Free

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As we enter “the time of our freedom,” we are called on to think a bit about this idea. When we think of freedom,...

From Darkness to Wisdom — Thoughts on Torah Portion Vayeitzei 2020

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I can imagine Jacob justifiably bemoaning his fate as he trudges toward Paddam Aram. Jacob was the one, the Bible tells us, who was...

Theology of Thanksgiving: Whom Shall We Thank?

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We must give up either Divine power or Divine goodness.

How The First Verses of the Torah Came to be Written – A Conjecture

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“How did things get this way?” is probably one of the first things that ancient human beings asked. Not most of them, for sure....

What Does it Mean to Have a Deeper Yom Kippur?

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Rosh Hashanah begins the work. Yom Kippur seals it. But only if you are willing to go deep.

The Orchestra: Thoughts on the Last Shabbat of 5780

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I have experienced a much-divided self lately as I have been thinking about the sovereignty of the Divine, the core theme of Rosh Hashanah....

Seekers of Truth Among the Ruins – Thoughts on the Shabbat Before the 9th...

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Seekers of Truth Among the Ruins Thoughts on the Sabbath Before the 9th of Av (Parshat Devarim) Well-being is within your reach. We’ve all had...

A Turning Point

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(this was sent to my synagogue list on June 3rd, 2020) “My innards, my innards shudder! I writhe in pain! The walls of my heart...

The Greater Part of Valor – Thoughts on Torah Portion Shelach Lekha

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The Greater Part of Valor Thoughts on Torah Portion Shelach Lekha 2020 (adapted from 2019) All Ohr HaTorah regulars know about my little bit of a...

Chaos, Moping and Mopping – Comments on Torah Portion Beha’alotekha

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Chaos, Moping and Mopping 2020 (adapted from 2019) B’ha’alotekha The brilliance of the Torah as “Literary Philosophic-Psychology” is evident in this week’s Torah portion, “Be’ha’aloteka.” We...

Knowledge, Will and Blessings – Thoughts on Torah Portion Naso

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Knowledge, Will and Blessings Thoughts on Torah Portion Naso 2020 (adapted from 2019)   I often meet with a person who is looking to change their life...

Thoughts on Torah Portions Acharei Mot – Kedoshim – “Be Holy”

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    Thoughts on Torah Portion Acharei Mot – Kedoshim – “Be Holy” “Be holy,” begins one the combined Torah Portions for today. “All right,” I might...

Fear and The Remedy – Thoughts on Torah Portion Tazria-Metzora

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Fear and the Remedy Thoughts on Torah portion Tazria-Metzora Rabbi Mordecai Finley - Ohr HaTorah Synagogue - Mar Vista This week’s Torah portion is about mass fear,...

Torah Portion VaYigash – The Ghost of Rachel in the Nile Bar and Grill

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A swirling eddy of pain, love, loss, regret, resentment, hope, reconciliation – core experiences of human beings – forms into the vortex of this...
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