Shabbat Naso: G-d is in the Annoying Details Too

This week the parashat hashavua (“text of the week”) is called Naso, a word related to the Hebrew idiom for counting. It literally means “lift up the head”, and underscores the importance of truly seeing each person whom one is counting. This is different from the Western idea of “counting heads”, which only tells you howContinue reading “Shabbat Naso: G-d is in the Annoying Details Too”

Shabbat BeHukotai: What Kind of G-d Does This?

In this final week of reading from the Book VaYikra (Leviticus), we are presented with a most unpleasant text, known as the Tokhekhah, “Rebuke”. The parashah has begun with a beautiful picture of the lovely life that we will enjoy if we follow G-d’s mitzvot: “If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My Commandments,Continue reading “Shabbat BeHukotai: What Kind of G-d Does This?”

Shabbat Behar: Between the Peak and the Valley

mah inyan shemitta eytzel har Sinai?  This is the classic Jewish form of the question you might recognize as “what does that have to do with all the tea in China?” or “what’s Hecuba to you, or you to Hecuba?” “What does shemitta have to do with Mt. Sinai?” This week’s parashat hashavua is named Behar, for “on the mountain”, i.e. Mt.Continue reading “Shabbat Behar: Between the Peak and the Valley”

Shabbat Emor: Acting Our Age

In parashat Emor, the first words describe G-d speaking to Moshe – not unusual. But then G-d goes on to tell Moshe to speak to Aharon, who in turn is to instruct the priests, his sons and their descendants.  The parashah later will turn to the rest of us, the b’nei Yisrael, often translated “children ofContinue reading “Shabbat Emor: Acting Our Age”