All posts by Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse

Remembering the Sacredness of Speech

Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 Our parashah is in many ways the peak of the dramatic Joseph story. Once cast into bondage in Egypt by his jealous brothers, Joseph has now risen, against the odds, and through his political acumen and remarkable ability to decipher dreams, has become the Pharaoh’s second-in command. A merciless famine in the land of Israel has driven his estranged family to come before Pharaoh’s minister in supplication for… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse

Bread and Water: Keeping Our Hearts Open

Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 Key moments in the book of Genesis often take place near a well, the quintessential place of sustenance. Throughout the first book of the Bible, the patriarchs dig and re-dig springs, in order to sustain their families and satiate their flocks. Abraham’s servant Hagar and their son Ishmael are delivered from certain death in the wilderness by their vision of a mysterious well. Abraham’s servant Eliezer… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse

The Forgetful Sands of the Wilderness

Parshat B’midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 The biblical book of Numbers continues the story of a people adrift and unmoored, winding their way through the empty wilderness. Much has happened thus far, including times of elation as well as failure; ours has not been a linear journey. God’s self-revelation and the giving of the Torah at Sinai was followed by the sin of the Golden Calf, and then the command to build… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah tabernacle

Building Devotion

Judaism is often described as a religion of law, an identity that it shares with Islam. But it is perhaps more accurate to consider Judaism as a religion defined by its commitment to embodied practice and experience. This is abundantly clear in the final chapters of Exodus, which concludes with a series of intricate laws concerning the construction of the Tabernacle. The Torah’s focus on seemingly mundane details began with… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah avraham-malachim

Resting Beneath the Tree

In Parshat Vayera, we meet Abraham resting near the entrance of his tent. He notices three weary travelers approaching, and he runs to greet them, with no regard for the intense heat of the day (as one midrash tells us)–or the fact that he is still healing after having circumcised himself as a part of his covenant with God. “Rest beneath the tree” (Genesis 18:4), Abraham implores the visitors, enjoining… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah 4sons1

The Momentum of Freedom (Passover)

In celebrating the Jewish liturgical year and holiday cycle, we relive significant occasions in the tale of the Jewish people. The Hasidic masters emphasize that each festival highlights a particular spiritual quality, some essential element of life that is a part of both our national story and our own spiritual lives. Passover is a time for contemplating the meaning of freedom, but is also forces us to confront the nature of servitude… Read Article →