Category Archives: Seventy Faces of Torah

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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Michael-Rosenberg

Sacred Clean-up (Parashat Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

When my wife and I lived in Jerusalem, we had good friends who would often invite us for Shabbat meals. This particular couple had a very specific division of labor in their marriage, because while one partner loved to cook elegant, multicourse meals, the other partner, Abe (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) had no interest in cooking. So while Cora would be in the kitchen cooking, Abe… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Monica Gomery

Calling Out and Coming Close (Parshat Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26)

Mónica Gomery is in her final year at the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. Her interests include poetry, communal singing, Talmud study, pastoral care, and racial/economic/gender justice. She currently works as a prison chaplain, teaches Talmud at the Boston Workmen’s Circle, and helps run the Boston Teen Beit Midrash. In Hebrew, the book of Leviticus is named for its opening word, “vayikra,” meaning “and he called.” Here God calls out to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

The Portable God Box (Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38)

I’m hesitant to admit it, but I didn’t grow up camping. I’d like for others to imagine me as someone who could hack it wandering around the woods for a few days, but in fact, I’m, quite inept when it comes to setting up tents—or really, constructing anything. There’s something about all of the bending, interlocking rods, those “easy-to-understand” pictorial directions with arrows pointing here and there—my brain goes into… Read Article →