parashat hashavua commentary: Bo

This week’s parashah begins with God’s command to Moshe to once again confront Pharaoh, the great ruler of Egypt who has repeatedly refused to agree to Moshe’s plea to let our people go. One of the strange aspects of the parashah begins with the phrase that gives the parashah its name: Bo, “come”. Why “come to Pharaoh” instead of the more logical “GoContinue reading “parashat hashavua commentary: Bo”

Va’Era: parashat hashavua commentary

This week’s parashat hashavua, Va’Era, derives its name from a curious assertion on the part of none other than God about the names by which we know God: I am יהוה  – I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by the name El Shaddai, but my name יהוה they did not come to know. (Ex.6.2-3). What’s a bit strange about this is thatContinue reading “Va’Era: parashat hashavua commentary”

discrimination is so last century

The news that Rev Louie Giglio has withdrawn from the Inauguration because of an inauspicious sermon is both too bad and an encouraging sign. It’s too bad because the Jewish tradition I follow suggests that he should have been given room to atone for words spoken many years ago, and not judged on a positionContinue reading “discrimination is so last century”

What’s in a (Jewish) name?

Last week in the Jewish world of Torah study we began reading the Book Shemot, called in English (or Greek, actually) “Exodus”. We know very well what is going to happen here: the Israelites, who moved to Egypt to escape a famine, have now found themselves enslaved in the service of constructing massive Pharaonic building projects. Everything startedContinue reading “What’s in a (Jewish) name?”