Category Archives: Seventy Faces of Torah

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Killip

How Pure Does the Coalition Have to Be? (Parshat Mattot/Massei, Numbers 30:2- 32:42)

How pure does the coalition have to be? This is the question of the moment. Within the Jewish community, as well as in the broader political world—groups on both sides of the aisle are looking at the people standing next to them, working with them for a joint cause, and wondering how much room there is for difference when it comes to vision and goals. We recognize the need to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jim Morgan

Wonder Woman and Pinchas: The Persistent Appeal of Zealotry

(Parashat Pinchas Numbers 25:10 – 30:1) In the film Wonder Woman (2017), the heroine, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, intervenes in World War I on the side of the Allies. She zealously seeks the destruction of Ares, the god of war (the gods are almost Greek, but seem not to be immortal). Along with her multicultural group of allies, she determines that Ares has incarnated himself as the supreme… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman

Covering of the Land (Parashat Balak: Numbers 22:2-25:9)

Parashat Balak opens with a fearful king dreading the arrival of the Israelite desert wanderers to his land of Moab. When he speaks to the leaders of neighboring Midian, Balak’s fear refigures the approaching Israelites as grazing animals — he says (Numbers 22:4), “Now, this assembly will nibble away everything around us as the ox nibbles the grass of the field.” In a single verbal gesture, the king paints the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

Pushing On Through the Wilderness

Parashat Chukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1 It has become a cliché that in life, we should focus on the journey, not the destination—we are advised to “enjoy the ride” and “pick more daisies.” It is easy to imagine ourselves within the quintessential image of this sentiment: a carefree, smiling person, basking in the sunshine, driving down an open road with car windows open or the top down, wind blowing through her hair…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adina Allen

The Blossoming of the Beloved Community

Parshat Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 As this week’s parsha begins, Korach—along with 250 chieftains of the community—criticizes Moses and Aaron for devising a system of religious practice in which only a select few are designated for Divine service. Where there was once an unmediated relationship, there are now layers—both physical and metaphorical—between the majority of the people and God. “Kol ha edah kula kedoshim u’bitocham Adonai—All of the community is holy,… Read Article →

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 →