Tag Archives: Exodus

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Speaking Torah: “And these are the laws”

Last week’s Torah reading, Parashat Yitro, brought us back to the mysterious encounter at Sinai, where we stood — a trembling people before a trembling mountain — and listened for the commanding voice of the God who brought us out of Egypt. Parashat Mishpatim offers a striking contrast to the grandeur of that great Meeting at Sinai. The opening verse of this week’s Torah reading signals a seemingly abrupt transition… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Break-Chains

Getting Unstuck

For the second Shabbat of Passover. There have been many times in my life when I just felt stuck. Stuck in a job, stuck in my family’s circumstances, stuck in a particular emotional state. It just didn’t seem like anything was ever going to change. We all feel that way at some point or other in our lives. As larger groups or national entities, we can feel stuck in political… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah on2045_03

Behold, the Table is Set

The publication of the Venice Haggadah of 1609 was a grand event. One of the first-ever printed books to accompany the Passover seder, it boasted intricate woodcuts framing every page, illustrating the story of the Exodus as well as the domestic scenes of men and women, preparing for Passover (mostly women) and celebrating it (mostly men). Even more, it was a multi-cultural enterprise, produced with three sets of instructions and… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Tissot_Jethro_and_Moses

Learning From the Friendly Outsider

I always find it strange that this Torah portion is named for Yitro (Jethro), Moses’ father-in-law. In this passage, we are about to approach the mountain to partake as we are able of Judaism’s innermost “insider” event, the revelation at Sinai. This is the eternal moment around which all of Judaism is constructed, the event at which the souls of all Jews ever to exist are said to have been… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Name Tag

These Are My Names

When my husband and I made aliyah last August, I was looking forward to bringing my name with me to Israel. I felt confident that my name would feel at home here immediately, even if I did not. While “Minna” is not a common name in Israel, it’s easily understood and certainly not the oddity that it is in the US. Unlike the stories of immigrants having their names mangled… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah tabernacle

Making the Space to be Present

Since I became a parent, I’ve been reading the Torah through a new lens. I now see in God’s behavior toward the Children of Israel a range of lessons — positive and negative — on parenting. The God of the Hebrew Bible reminds me of a parent who is not yet sure-footed, whose behavior is somewhat erratic — making promises at one moment, testing at another, exploding with rage at… Read Article →