Shabbat BaMidbar: Now It Gets Scary

Have you begun to ration your news consumption yet? Many of us are finding it the only way to get through a week in these strange and stressful times. Just scanning headlines can feel as if one is absorbing blow after blow of disappointment, concern, anger, and yes, of fear. One source of guidance –Continue reading “Shabbat BaMidbar: Now It Gets Scary”

Shabbat Matot-Masey: We’re In This Together

Shalom Shir Tikvah Learning Community, On this Shabbat we read a double parashah, both Matot and Masey, and at the end of it we finish the Book BaMidbar, the account of much wandering in geography and in relationships. And in this specific Torah narrative, part of the second year of the Triennial Cycle of reading,Continue reading “Shabbat Matot-Masey: We’re In This Together”

Shabbat BaMidbar and Shavuot 5778: Into The Wilderness

Our parashat hashavua is called after the name of the book it opens, BaMidbar, “in the wilderness.” The first verse is both simple and completely mysterious: וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל-מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי G‑d spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai (1:1) This is the Shabbat before Shavuot, the Festival on which we commemorate the day when theContinue reading “Shabbat BaMidbar and Shavuot 5778: Into The Wilderness”

Shabbat Matot-Masei: the Long, Confusing, Chaotic Road to Freedom

In this week’s double parashah we wind up the Book of BaMidbar. The word bamidbar, actually three in English, is usually translated “in the wilderness”. But the root word, dalet bet reysh, can as easily be understood as “speaking”. Our ancestors wandered across a land that was unsettled, and that they saw as chaotic and uncontrollable. We,Continue reading “Shabbat Matot-Masei: the Long, Confusing, Chaotic Road to Freedom”

Shabbat BaMidbar, erev Shavuot: What Is This Torah That We Receive?

The very first lines of Pirke Avot, a famous collection of Rabbinic 1st-century ethical “sayings of the ancestors”, goes like this: Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua;  Joshua to the elders; the elders to the prophets;  and the prophets handed it down to the men of the Great Assembly. –Continue reading “Shabbat BaMidbar, erev Shavuot: What Is This Torah That We Receive?”