Shabbat Shoftim: Justice One Step at a Time

Everything we see, whether good or bad, is really a reflection of ourselves. If it was not, we’d simply not see it. – Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism  This Shabbat is called Shoftim, after the first part of the parashah, which deals with the need for a way to compel cooperation with social mores.Continue reading “Shabbat Shoftim: Justice One Step at a Time”

Shabbat Nakhamu: What If There Is No Consolation?

What if we don’t get there? This week our parashat hashavua is named for the pleading of our leader Moshe before HaShem; he begged to be allowed to take the final steps into the Land promised to his people, to see it for himself.   אֶעְבְּרָה־נָּ֗א וְאֶרְאֶה֙ אֶת־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַטּוֹבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּעֵ֣בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן הָהָ֥ר הַטּ֛וֹב הַזֶּ֖הContinue reading “Shabbat Nakhamu: What If There Is No Consolation?”

Shabbat VaEra: To Appear, Perchance to be Seen

Our parashat hashavua (the week’s Torah text) describes the ultimate I-Thou moment, between Moshe Rabbenu (the way Moses is known in our tradition, as “Moshe our Rabbi”) and HaShem (the way G*d is known in our tradition. Out of respect, the word “adonai” is avoided, in speech and in print, outside of prayer). ‘וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֵלָ֖יוContinue reading “Shabbat VaEra: To Appear, Perchance to be Seen”

Shabbat Tazria-Metzora: Lift Every Voice

Why does the mind so often choose to fly away at the moment the word waited for all one’s life is about to be spoken?  (Alice Walker, The Temple of My Familiar) This week we have a Torah double-header. Our parashat hashavua (Torah text for this week) is two: both Tazria and Metzora. Both refer toContinue reading “Shabbat Tazria-Metzora: Lift Every Voice”

Eclipse Torah: Martin Buber on the Eclipse of G*d

Such is the nature of this hour. But what of the next?  Religion is essentially the act of holding fast to G*d. And that does not mean holding fast to an image that one has made of G*d, nor even holding fast to the faith in G*d that one has conceived. It means holding fastContinue reading “Eclipse Torah: Martin Buber on the Eclipse of G*d”

Shabbat Mishpatim / Shabbat Shekalim: Community – The Difficulty Is In the Details

Every year we study once again the account of the moment when our people stood at the foot of Mt Sinai, witnessed a revelation, and became a community. Literally a “peak moment,” our commentators teach that this was the only time in all the history of our People of Israel when we were of oneContinue reading “Shabbat Mishpatim / Shabbat Shekalim: Community – The Difficulty Is In the Details”

Shalom Shir Tikvah Learning Community, We have begun reading from the third book of the Torah in our ritual cycle; the book VaYikra, translated as “Leviticus”. The word refers to all things priestly, literally, of the Levites. It gives precise instructions for how the ancient sacrificial cult was to be enacted, and probably was originallyContinue reading