All posts by Rachel Adelman

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman

If Only All God’s People Were Prophets!

Parashat B’ha’alot’cha, Numbers 8:1-12:16 The Israelites journeyed through the wilderness when the Divine Presence still whispered in their midst. Though the sense of God’s footfall has long faded in our own turbulent times, the two rhetorical questions that punctuate this week’s Torah reading still resound. In one, the people complain, “If only we had meat to eat!”—more literally, who will feed us meat?; in the other, Moses calls for shared… Read Article →

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Vertigo

He binds his son with the leather straps of his shoes – The knife, placed on a rock nearby, still for now. The boy turns his face to his father, and says: “Do not tell my mother While she is bent over a pit, Or standing on the roof Lest she throw herself down and die.” I am standing in the kitchen early Friday morning with my list, when my… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman

“My Father Was a Wandering Aramean…”: The Ethical Legacy of Our Origins in Exile

(Parashat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) Through two thousand years of diaspora, the Jewish people have preserved a relationship to God and our tradition, keeping alive the promise of return to our homeland. At the center of that promise of return, paradoxically, is a consciousness of the gift of the land, God’s land—neither “your land” nor “my land”. This concept forms the centerpiece of this week’s Torah portion, which begins with… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman

“Not by Bread Alone” (Parashat Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

A friend recently asked me the most basic (and profound) of questions: Why be religious? Like me, he was raised a secular humanist, in a highly cultured, assimilated academic family. While I became religiously observant and have dedicated my life to Torah learning and the Jewish people, including raising my children in Israel, he has remained largely a secular humanist, active in the Unitarian Church in Canada. Nevertheless, we have… Read Article →

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Marheshvan – In the Wake of the Floodwaters

And as I watch the drops of rain Weave their weary paths and die, I know that I am like the rain There but for the grace of You go I. (Paul Simon, “Kathy’s Song”) Marheshvan (or Heshvan) is the month of darkening days creeping towards the winter solstice, leaves ablaze on the New England trees, dank air and occasional torrential rains. Nights lengthen, the dawn is incrementally delayed, and… Read Article →

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Meditation on Zikhronot (God’s Remembering)

In the Torah, Rosh HaShana is called yom teru‘ah “a day of sounding the shofar” (Num. 29:1) and zikharon teru‘ah “a remembrance of sounding the shofar” (Lev. 23:24), yet no reason is given for why we blow the shofar. If it is a day of remembering, what are we compelled to recall? Is the shofar meant to arouse our own memory, or God’s? For us, memory is an act of recollection, reassembling past events… Read Article →