All posts by Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein

Seventy Faces of Torah The_Two_Reports_of_the_Spies_(crop)

The Terrors of Transition

In the Torah portion for this week, Shelach, the Israelites stand at the threshold of the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. Uncertain about what they will find there, scouts are sent ahead — one from each of the 12 tribes — to reconnoiter the terrain and assess its inhabitants. It is a point of great transition in the community’s life, and great leadership is required. When the scouts return 40 days… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah jpeg

The Plague of Survivalism (Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18–47:27)

The Jewish people have a knack for surviving, even in the face of great odds. Sometimes, however, it seems as if that is our only goal. In the Torah portion for this week (Vayigash), Joseph, having grown in power and influence in Egypt after his brothers left him for dead in the desert many years before, now reveals his true identity to his assembled siblings. While his remorseful brothers are… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah 1830937871_1367892466

Life on the Margins

What does it feel like to live at the edge, on the margins of community? The Torah reading for this week, Tazria, seems to imply that it can be a very lonely experience. When someone from the Israelite community is found to have leprosy (“tzaraat”), a disease of the skin, that person is removed from camp and separated from the others (Lev. 13:46). While their physical affliction is not their… Read Article →