Shabbat Pinhas: The Three Weeks

This year, Shabbat Pinhas is the first Shabbat of the Three Weeks.   These three weeks are the least auspicious period in the entire Jewish year, leading up as they do to Tisha B’Av, the day on which, two thousand years ago, the Second Jerusalem Temple was destroyed. Our people began a two thousand yearContinue reading “Shabbat Pinhas: The Three Weeks”

Shabbat Hukkat: I Have Seen Outrage

This parashat hashavua, this Torah reading of the week, chronicles a time of terrible crisis for our people. The leaders we rely on are disappearing; the path is lost in a cloud of doubt and fear; the G*d of justice feels very far away.   The relevance of parashat Hukkat is profound and somewhat unnervingContinue reading “Shabbat Hukkat: I Have Seen Outrage”

Shabbat Devarim: It Gets Worse

An ox knows its master and an ass knows where the food is; but Israel does not know, my people is thoughtless.”  (Isaiah 1.3)   The haftarah for this Shabbat gives the Shabbat its name: Hazon, “[prophetic] vision.” It is always chanted on this Shabbat before Tisha b’Av, the day of mourning for the destructionContinue reading “Shabbat Devarim: It Gets Worse”

Shabbat Balak: Do You Know Where You Stand? Do You Know Why?

Thousands of years ago, a prophet appearing in our parashat hashavua, Bil’am ben Be’or, stood on a high place overlooking the tents of the people of Israel. He had been tasked with cursing the people, at the order of King Balak, who had hired him. Balak feared the presence of these immigrants at his border andContinue reading “Shabbat Balak: Do You Know Where You Stand? Do You Know Why?”