Shabbat VaEra 5774: Don’t Look Away

We take up our story in the parashah called VaEra at chapter 7, verse 14: Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go. Moshe and Aharon had come to bring him a message, and he turned away from it. A close examination of the events so far indicate no reason why Pharaoh should be impressed: Moshe and AharonContinue reading “Shabbat VaEra 5774: Don’t Look Away”

Shabbat Shemot: can you feel your own galut?

Our parashat hashavua (“parashah of the week”) finds us far from home and ancestral memory; we are in Egypt, which seemed like a good idea at the time. But “there arose a king who did not know Joseph” (still a Jewish way to say “things are going to get worse now”), and our comfortable, protected statusContinue reading “Shabbat Shemot: can you feel your own galut?”

“Five Reasons for an Orthodox Rabbi to Support Gay Marriage” – A response to Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

If you haven’t seen this post, go read it! and then we can talk: Rabbi Yanklowitz shares his personal reflections and halakhic struggles – and in so doing, he expresses the most traditional kind of Judaism, that which teaches the value of hiddush (innovation within the law) and the humility of our ancestors. TheyContinue reading ““Five Reasons for an Orthodox Rabbi to Support Gay Marriage” – A response to Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz”

Shabbat VaYekhi: What Makes a Good Song?

We’ve arrived at the last weekly parashah of the first book of the Torah: the book of Creation, of beginnings, of the kind of stories that are meant to answer the essential questions. How did the world come into existence? How did you and I? How did the Jews become a people? and less happy questions as well,Continue reading “Shabbat VaYekhi: What Makes a Good Song?”

Shabbat VaYigash: How To Become Israel

The famous part of this week’s parashah is at the very beginning: after weeks of build-up, the saga reaches its dramatic climax as Judah steps forward to confront the ruler of Egypt (not knowing that this ruler is his own little brother). In this single act of courage and emotional maturity, Judah breaks a tragicContinue reading “Shabbat VaYigash: How To Become Israel”