Shabbat HaGadol: Being Commanded isn’t Enough, and Neither is Being Free

The days before and after Shabbat haGadol, “the Great Shabbat,” are meant to be a time of excitement and joy, of running around to find the best ingredients and the nicest symbolic foods for our Seder. It’s a time to clean house, to bring out the Pesakh plates and the “good” utensils in honor ofContinue reading “Shabbat HaGadol: Being Commanded isn’t Enough, and Neither is Being Free”

Shabbat Zakhor: Fear of G*d

The learning of this week’s parashah all comes down to a confrontation between Shifra and Pu’ah, on one side, and Amalek, on the other. Shifra and Pu’ah were the Hebrew midwives whom Pharaoh commanded to carry out his plan to eradicate the Hebrews by killing all the boy babies as they were born. But the midwivesContinue reading “Shabbat Zakhor: Fear of G*d”

Shabbat Tetzaveh: It’ll Cost You

Our parashat hashavua (the parashah, “reading” or “portion” for this shavua, “week”; notice that the h changes to a t when parashah is modified by the specific week’s reading) is Tetzaveh, “[you shall] command”. The parashah begins with a grammatical anomaly noted by the famous Torah teacher Nehama Lebowitz. Usually a parashah begins with the familiar phrase SpeakContinue reading “Shabbat Tetzaveh: It’ll Cost You”