Shabbat Kedoshim: Neither Inaccessible Nor Absurd

Our parashat hashavua (“section of the week”, i.e. the part of the Torah assigned by ancient Jewish tradition for this week in the Jewish calendar) begins with the most inaccessible and ludicrous of demands:  “Speak to the People Israel and say to them, ‘be holy [kadosh], as I ‘ה your G*d am holy [kadosh]’.” (Lev. 19.2) But when weContinue reading “Shabbat Kedoshim: Neither Inaccessible Nor Absurd”

Shabbat Ki Tisa: Thinking Outside Your Self

This is the Shabbat of parashat Ki Tisa, the most famous part of which is the debacle of the Golden Calf. On one foot (the Jewish idiom for “in a nutshell”): We have just lived through the glorious commitment ceremony between us and G-d, and received the promise of the Torah (at least the AseretContinue reading “Shabbat Ki Tisa: Thinking Outside Your Self”

Shabbat Va’Era: How Does G-d Appear To You?

The parashat hashavua, the Torah reading of the week, begins in an entirely perplexing way: ב  וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה; וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, אֲנִי יְהוָה. G-d spoke to Moses, saying to him: ‘I am YHVH; ג  וָאֵרָא, אֶל-אַבְרָהָם אֶל-יִצְחָק וְאֶל-יַעֲקֹב–בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי; וּשְׁמִי יְהוָה, לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shaddai butContinue reading “Shabbat Va’Era: How Does G-d Appear To You?”

parashat hashavua Balak: Jewish camping

This week’s parashah is once again curiously, albeit appropriately, named, this time for a king who is hostile to the Jewish people and suspicious of them; or so it seems. King Balak of Moab is concerned about the Israelites approaching his kingdom and camping nearby. His response is to act to defend his borders, notContinue reading “parashat hashavua Balak: Jewish camping”