Category Archives: Seventy Faces of Torah

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adina Allen

Glitz, Glam and God

Parshat Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10) “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts!” Chanting these words in the Kedusha, we stand, feet together, mimicking the angels on high. As we press up onto our toes, yearning for that Divine connection, we take on the posture of these pure, ethereal beings without physical characteristics that exist only in spirit. Our conception of holiness often follows on this track, conjuring images of those… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adam Lavitt

Hope in the Margins

Parashat Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27-19) Speaking with a woman in hospice care, she told me she could not watch the news anymore because it depressed her too much. Though she was facing the end of her life, the turbulence of these times was utterly unbearable to her. In her despair I saw reflected back to me my own certainty, as I look into the public sphere, that our society is stuck…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

From Reception to Responsibility: God’s Ode to Restraint

Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24.18) A lot can change in a week. It was only a week ago that the Israelites stood at Mount Sinai – through the thunder, lightning and shofar blasts, experiencing the overwhelming revelation of God’s presence. And then this week, the parasha opens with God saying to Moshe, “These are the laws you must place before” [the Israelites] (Exodus 21:1). Gone are the Divine pyrotechnics. Gone is… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin

You Cannot Do It Alone

Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23) As a rabbi and organizer for social justice, the past 15 months have been a moral nightmare and an organizer’s dream come true.  As our government increasingly hurts communities of color, poor people, and religious minorities, thousands of concerned citizens—of diverse backgrounds—are coming out of the woodwork, eager to fight back.  Many are entering the political fray for the first time. For years, leaders in the… Read Article →

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Components of Faith

Parashat B’Shalach (Exodus 13:17-17:15) A congregant I’ll call K. just found out she has cancer. “I can’t halt the parade of anxious thoughts,” she tells me. “All my hair will fall out. What if the treatment doesn’t work? I’m going to die.” K. has a good relationship with God. She says “modah ani,” wraps tefillin, and meditates every morning. With the news, however, none of her spiritual practices seem to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah jordan-schuster

On Approaching the Tyrannical Heart

Parashat Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16) There is this scene from a tale by Rabbi Nakhman of Breslov that’s been hounding me lately. In it, the world has fallen under the sway of a handful of tyrants. Each tyrant claims a different moral truth. Each truth-claim begets a different moralizing discourse. As these discourses proliferate, the world divides, polarizes, rends itself apart. Mountains quake. The earth comes undone. Into the midst of… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

The Promise of Exile

Parshat Va’era (Exodus 6:2-9:35) The year I spent living and traveling in New Zealand was a year in which I lived entirely on what I could carry on my body. All of us backpackers, bouncing at once together and separate from hostel to hostel, were reduced to the same couple of unwashed t-shirts and pants, essentialized versions of ourselves, stripped of what made us distinguishable from one another. It was… Read Article →

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Shemot / Ignition

Moses said, “I will turn aside and see this great sight. Why is the bush not consumed by its burning?” (Exodus 3:3) God’s memory burns in capital letters and your doubt is the kindling its million mouths reach for. The generations in your blood are a coral necklace, each bead worn blunt by grinding years, desert blush riding high on the surface. Your clothed feet, your naked questions can take you… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

With Strong Hands and Outstretched Arms

Parashat Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) The story of our departure from Egypt begins with a cry—the deep, inarticulate cry of pain and longing that rises up from the bellies of the Israelite slaves and ascends to heaven. It is their cry, in this week’s Torah portion, that—after generations of slavery—finally evokes a response from God, and sets the process of liberation in motion. “The Israelites were groaning under their bondage and… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman

Brothers on the Edge

Parashat Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26) The Book of Genesis revolves around stories of rivalry between brothers, from Cain and Abel to Joseph and his brothers. All entail terrible acts of violence—murder, banishment, stolen blessing, plotted revenge, and abduction into slavery—exacerbated by God’s favor of the younger son. Do we see any moral evolution from that original act of fratricide to the relationship between Jacob’s sons, the twelve founding fathers of Israel?… Read Article →