Shabbat Va’Era: Reveal Yourself

In last week’s parashat hashavua we witnessed a rapid transition in which the people of Israel went from a good life in Exile to a persecuted, miserable slavery. At the end of the  parashah Moshe, after his first attempt to organize the people of Israel, is discouraged. וַיָּשָׁב מֹשֶׁה אֶל י-ה, וַיֹּאמַר:  אד-נָי, לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתָהContinue reading “Shabbat Va’Era: Reveal Yourself”

Do Not Oppress the Stranger

A group of ragged refugees from Egypt millennia ago created the ancient Sacred Scriptures of Judaism. Shared by Islam and adopted by Christianity, they proclaim no less than thirty-six times “You shall not oppress the stranger. You know the feelings of the stranger, for you have been strangers yourself.” The Sacred scriptures of the UnitedContinue reading “Do Not Oppress the Stranger”

Shabbat Shemot: A New King Arose Who Did Not Know Joseph

Now there arose a new king who did not know Joseph (Ex.1.8) – These words from the opening of the Book Shemot, Exodus, rise up, an uncanny echo reverberating through history, mocking those of us who think that the Torah is tamed and not so up to date. These are the words that greet usContinue reading “Shabbat Shemot: A New King Arose Who Did Not Know Joseph”

Asara b’Tevet: Countdown to January 20 2017

Yesterday the countdown began, although you may not have noticed. Yesterday was Asara b’Tevet, a minor fast day in Judaism which marks the day on which the Babylonian Empire laid siege to the ancient walls of Jerusalem. It was created as a fast day because that day was the beginning of the end for the ancientContinue reading “Asara b’Tevet: Countdown to January 20 2017”

(this week) Shabbat VaYigash: One Step

Parashat VaYigash brings us to the denouement of the saga of Joseph and his brothers. Favoritism and jealousy have led to immature acts of aggression, lives have been torn apart and now it seems that all is lost. Joseph’s brothers stand before him all unaware that this is their brother; Joseph, who does recognize them,Continue reading “(this week) Shabbat VaYigash: One Step”

(next week) Shabbat VaYehi: What’s the Last Word?

Our parashat hashavua this week concludes not only the Book Bereshit but also the saga of Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, and that entire generation. One of the most fascinating passages in the parashah describes Jacob, on his deathbed, and his last words to his sons. Although we refer to the scene as Jacob’s deathbedContinue reading “(next week) Shabbat VaYehi: What’s the Last Word?”