Shabbat Bereshit: the power of naming

This week marks the beginning, again; once again we turn to the opening pages of our Torah and read of the beginning. Except that we do not. The first words of our Torah are בראשית ברא אלהים  Bereshit bara Elohim Which literally means “during the beginning, G*d created…” And what does that mean? Well, we alreadyContinue reading “Shabbat Bereshit: the power of naming”

Shabbat B’Shalakh: Go Ahead and Jump

Parashat B’Shalakh recounts the first steps of the Exodus from Egypt. After much confusion, pain and terror, the time has come and the Israelites – those who choose to follow Moshe – have celebrated the first Passover and are now on the move. Not all the Israelites went along, and some who were not IsraelitesContinue reading “Shabbat B’Shalakh: Go Ahead and Jump”

Shabbat Yitro: What Do You Hear When You Hear the Voice of G-d?

What do you hear when you are in the presence of that which matters most? This week we read of G-d’s gift of the Aseret haDibrot, the “Ten Utterances”, to the People of Israel. The Torah text describes thunder and lightning, fire and smoke, on top of Mt. Sinai. But the midrash, teachings of the ancientContinue reading “Shabbat Yitro: What Do You Hear When You Hear the Voice of G-d?”

Shabbat Re’eh: Seeing and Being Seen

This week we read from parashat Re’eh. The parashah’s name translates to the imperative “see!” or “behold!”. We are urged to see that before us lies blessing and curse, and also (in a further development of the connotations of the verb) to “see”, and “understand”, that it is up to us to discern one from theContinue reading “Shabbat Re’eh: Seeing and Being Seen”

Shabbat Terumah: In The Details

“This too is Torah, and I need to learn it.” Two millennia ago the renowned sage Rabbi Akiba asserted that Torah is not only that which is written on the parchment of the sefer Torah, the Scroll of Direction (the Hebrew verb root h.r.h means “teaching”, and also “aiming” as well as “indicating direction”). TorahContinue reading “Shabbat Terumah: In The Details”