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Rabbi Mordecai Finley

Rabbi Mordecai Finley

Rabbi of Ohr HaTorah Synagogue, mostly online synagogue in Los Angeles

When the Dust Settled

Last week\’s portion ends with a ferocious battle; this week\’s begins with the after action report and the distributing of medals. We learn the names of those killed
and those rewarded and then all the troops are mustered and counted, to see who remains alive from the fighting.

Your Inner Joseph

Each of us lives a spiritual journey. One of greatest tasks in life is to know our journey, to understand its contours and what it demands of us. The Torah teaches us these journeys, these paths into our center.

Amalek Within

This Shabbat is Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat in which we remember tribe of Amalek, the nemesis of Jewish people. Amalek is described in Bible as attacking the people of Israel at weak places and at weak moments.

Dialogue of Truth

For many, perhaps most, American Jews today, the words that open this week\’s Torah portion stand at the center of the their understanding of Judaism.

Personal Liberation

How does one prepare for freedom? One Jewish answer is found in the reading of the four special portions read along with the regular Torah portions in the weeks before

Final Lesson

In this week\’s Torah portion, Vayechi, we have the most intimate description of a deathbed scene and the most elaborate description of a le\’vayah (funeral) contained in the Torah.

Fill in the Blank

When I began to study Torah seriously as a college student, I was introduced to its spiritual depths. I found that the meanings of the holidays went beyond the agricultural and historical sources, and often had complex spiritual teachings woven in. I remember that, back in those days, I could find little spiritual or poetic meanings of Shemini Atzeret. It was blank, or more accurately, a cipher.

Jewish Values Guide Marine’s Life in Iraq

We lost e-mail contact with our son, Kayitz, when he and his Marine unit disembarked from their ship on Feb. 24. From just about the beginning of the Iraq War, though, we knew what he was going through.

Choosing Judaism: My Father’s Story and My Own

At a recent Shabbat, a guest at our services asked the person staffing our welcome table, \”Is the rabbi here Jewish?\” What the person meant was, \”Is the rabbi a convert?\” Many have shared with me over the years, as our congregation has grown, that acquaintances of theirs have told them, on good authority, that Rabbi Finley \”is not really Jewish.\”

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