Adina Gerver

Adina Gerver

Adina Gerver is a graduate student at New York University, pursuing an MPA in non-profit management and an MA in Judaic Studies, while working as a freelance writer/editor and consultant for Jewish non-profits. She studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem after graduating from the Maimonides School in Brookline, MA. After receiving her B.A. in history and women’s studies from Harvard College, she worked in Jewish education for five years and then studied at Yeshivat Hadar, the Pardes Institute, the Conservative Yeshiva, and the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. She received teacher-training through Kevah in Berkeley, CA. Adina can be reached at gerver@gmail.com.

Dvarim

The term tzedakah, commonly understood as “charity,” serves as a catch-all for many biblical commandments designed to help the poor, including leaving harvest gleanings and the edges of fields for the poor, providing interest-free loans, forgiving loans and tithing. The word “tzedek,” which has the same root as tzedakah, appears carrying its now-common meaning of “justice” for the first time in Parashat Dvarim. Though closely related linguistically, these two concepts each hold up a different ideal of righteousness in the Torah and in the eyes of the Rabbis.

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Nitzavim-Vayelech

I consider the most beautiful passage in the Torah to be found in Parashat Nitzavim:

Surely, this mitzvah that I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?”….No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.

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Nitzavim-Vayelech

I consider the most beautiful passage in the Torah to be found in Parashat Nitzavim:

Surely, this mitzvah that I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?”….No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.

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Bo

Although the plagues that God rains down upon Pharaoh and all of the Egyptians in Parashat Vaera and Parashat Bo seem almost grotesquely farcical in their nature—blood? frogs? fiery hail?—they raise complex and nuanced questions about collective punishment and collective responsibility.

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Chayei Sarah

When read with modern sensibilities, Bereshit 24 is a traditional tale about a man who travels to a far-off land to find a woman to marry his master’s son. Imagine that you are that woman, going about your daily chores when a strange man approaches you. He gazes at you for a bit, and finding you to be a beautiful virgin, inquires as to your family lineage. Then he meets with your father and brother, who, seeing the many gifts that the servant has bestowed upon you and them, say without hesitation, “Take her and go, and let her be a wife to your master’s son.”

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Shmini

This week’s Dvar Tzedek was originally published in 2009. Parashat Shmini juxtaposes two sacrifices, both offered to God by Israelites in the desert and both summoning Divine fire, but with tragically different consequences. The first series of sacrifices was offered by Aaron and his sons and was rewarded: “the Presence of the Lord appeared to …Read More

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Nitzavim-Vayelech

I consider the most beautiful passage in the Torah to be found in Parshat Nitzavim: Surely, this mitzvah that I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens …Read More

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Nitzavim-Vayelech

I consider the most beautiful passage in the Torah to be found in Parshat Nitzavim: Surely, this mitzvah that I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens …Read More

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Dvarim

The term tzedakah, commonly understood as “charity,” serves as a catch-all for many biblical commandments designed to help the poor, including leaving harvest gleanings and the edges of fields for the poor, providing interest-free loans, forgiving loans and tithing.[1] The word “tzedek,” which has the same root as tzedakah, appears carrying its now-common meaning of …Read More

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Chukat-Balak

The strange story of Bilam, his talking donkey and the blessings he bestowed on Israel is recounted in Parshat Balak.[1] After the Israelites successfully defended themselves against the attacking Amorites, the Moabite king, Balak, asked Bilam to curse the Israelites in order to weaken them. Following several rounds of negotiations with Balak’s representatives and with …Read More

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