Category Archives: Seventy Faces of Torah

Seventy Faces of Torah shoshana-friedman

Navigating the Land: Courage and Curiosity

Parshat Sh’lach L’cha, Numbers 13:1-15:41 Last November 9, I found myself in a new land. Distraught, I tried to put my finger on the root of my distress. It wasn’t just that I found the outcome of the election tragic for many reasons; I was experiencing something more profound, resembling extreme disorientation. I finally figured it out when I was reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote, “The… Read Article →

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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Cantor Ken Richmond

Make Our Leaders Great Again

(Parshat Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89) I find my eyes drawn these days to the 11th blessing of the daily amidah prayer, the petition for righteousness, which begins by saying: “Restore judges to us as in the early days and wise counselors as of old”—in other words, “Make our leaders great again.” Our newspapers are full of leaders in business, religion, and politics gaining notoriety through deceit, corruption, and scandal, with our… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

A Web of Family and Friends

Parshat B’midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 For many years, I’ve felt like a person without a home. Since I left for college, my mom has moved many times. I have family in Arizona and Israel, New York and New Jersey and even New Zealand, but there’s no obvious single place to go when everyone else goes “home for the holidays”. It’s not just my family that’s far-flung; I’ve done my own share… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Lehmann

To be a Guest in the World (Parshat Behar-Behukotai, Leviticus 25:1-27:34)

By Rabbi Daniel Lehmann The two Torah readings of Behar and Behukotai (paired in a joint reading this week) conclude the book of Leviticus. The first portion, Behar, begins with the laws of the sabbatical and jubilee years (every seventh year and fiftieth year respectively). Both of these special years construct an alternative relationship between the Israelites and ownership of land, agriculture, and human servitude. One verse in the middle of… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah jessica-kate-meyer

A House of Prayer for All

Parashat Emor, Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23 A friend of mine once described the pain he experiences each year when this week’s Torah portion rolls around. Ever since a spinal injury left him hemiplegic, he hears the verses Leviticus 21:16-23 as alienating and “othering,” and degrading his connection to the Divine and community: God spoke to Moses saying: “Speak to Aaron and say: ‘A man from your seed (for all time)… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Leora Abelson

Intimacy Through Repair

Parshat Aharei-Mot, Leviticus 16:1-18:30 In an interview on NPR, Nadia Bolz-Weber—the founder and pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver—talks about knowing that she will, at some point, disappoint or hurt the members of her community. For her, it is a question of when, not if. She names this often, and she invites her congregants to decide ahead of time to “stick around” when it happens…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lev

The 50 Year Itch (Parshat Tazria-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson Amidst all the unfamiliar and gross-sounding skin conditions described in this week’s parshah, one jumps out with surprising, blaring familiarity: Shechin. “When the flesh has shechin in the skin and is healed…” (Lev. 13:18) Shechin is the sixth plague that God brought upon the Egyptians. Some of us dip our pinkies in our cups at the seder table each year, removing drops of wine during the recitation… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Jim Morgan

Shame and Drawing Close to Holiness (Parshat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

In a 2016 New York Times Op-Ed, Sally L. Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld observe that modern American culture has been “down on shame [as] a damaging, useless emotion that we should neither feel ourselves nor make others feel.” This trend is unfortunate, they argue, because it ignores the positive role that “appropriate shame”—which they define as “the feeling that one has failed to live up to one’s own standards”—can play… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah adina-allen-100x100px

The Art of Liberation

(Shabbat Chol haMoed Pesach, Exodus 33:12 – 34:26) The Haggadah tells of our people’s journey from the suffering of slavery to our wild, sea-splitting-open redemption. Around the seder table last week, our observance of the holiday began with a question: “How is this night different from all other nights?: As we discuss and unfurl into our newfound freedom, our questions about the particular night of Passover blossom into new and… Read Article →