Archive | Teachings

B’midbar: In the Wilderness

Va’yedaber YHVH el Moshe b’midbar Sinai b’ohel mo’ed b’echad la’chodesh ha’sheni bashanah ha’shenit l’tzeitam me’eretz Mitzrayim.  YHVH spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai in the Tent of Meeting on the first day of the second month of the second year since leaving Egypt. (Numbers 1:1) So begins the fourth book of the Torah. […]

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Behar: We Do Not Own the Earth

V’ha’aretz lo timacher l’tzmitut, ki li ha’aretz, ki gerim v’toshavim atem imadi The land cannot be sold in perpetuity, for the land belongs to Me, and you are but temporary residents on My earth. (Leviticus 25:23) Last week I argued for the importance of understanding the expansive evolution that Jewish law and practice has undergone […]

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Emor: An Eye for an Eye?

V’ish ki yiten mum ba’amito, ka’asher asah ken ya’aseh lo: shever tachat shever, ayin tachat ayin, shen tachat shen. Ka’asher yiten mum ba’adam, ken yinaten bo.  A person who inflicts injury on his fellow, as he did so shall be done to him: a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth […]

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Tazria-Metzora: Body as Temple

Va’yedaber YHVH el Moshe leimor: zot tih’yeh torat ha’metzora b’yom tohorato. YHVH said to Moses: “This is the Torah (instruction) for a person with the skin affliction Metzora so that they may be restored to wholeness. (Leviticus 14:1) This week (and the next) we read a double portion of Torah. The extra reading is a […]

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Shabbat Hagadol: Preparing for Passover

The Shabbat that precedes the beginning of Passover is known in our tradition as Shabbat Hagadol – The Great Sabbath. The first night of Passover this year falls next Friday night, so this Shabbat is Shabbat Hagadol. The exact origin of this title is not exactly clear, but it is probably drawn from the special […]

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Vayikra: Leviticus as Literature

Vayikra el Moshe va’yedaber YHVH eilav me’ohel moed YHVH called to Moses, and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting (Leviticus 1:1) For the modern reader, the Book of Leviticus appears to be an odd and even unwelcome intrusion into the grand saga of our ancestors. After the satisfying conclusion of the Book of […]

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Vayakhel-Pekudei: Realizing Our True Nature

Va’yomer Moshe el B’nei Yisrael: “Re’u, kara YHVH b’shem Betzalel, ben Uri, ben Hur, l’mateh Yehudah, va’yemaleh oto ru’ach Elohim b’chochmah bi’t’vunah u’v’da’at u’v’chol melacha.” And Moses said to the Children of Israel: “See, the Creator has singled out by name Betzalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, endowing him […]

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Ki Tisa: The Golden Calf

Vayikahel ha’am al Aharon vayomru eilav: “Kum aseh lanu elohim asher yelchu lefaneinu, ki zeh Moshe, ha’ish asher he’elunun me’eretz Mitzrayim, lo yadanu meh hayah lo!” The people gathered against Aaron and said to him, “Do something! Make us a god who shall lead us, for that Moses, the man who brought us up out […]

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Trumah: Creating Holy Moments

Daber el B’nai Yisrael v’yikchu li trumah me’et kol ish asher yidvenu libo tikchu et trumati…V’asu li Mikdash v’shachanti b’tocham. Tell the Children of Israel to bring Me gifts – you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves them…And you shall build Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in […]

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