Tag Archives: Genesis-rav

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

“We must choose life in the world we’ve got, and plant our gardens on this side of the rainbow”

An ancient rabbinic midrash tells us that God created and destroyed many worlds before bringing this one into being. The tale speaks, I believe, to an impulse that is all too familiar. The impulse—when confronted with profound disappointment—to destroy in order to begin again. This is the impulse that overtakes God, as it were, at the very end of last week’s Torah portion. “The Lord saw how great was man’s… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

Where Is God in the Flood?

Parshat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32) In the beginning, there was nothing. When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth being unformed and void. Except, that’s not exactly true. Because there was something. There was darkness, and there was wind, and there was water. A lot of water. God separated water from water, creating an expanse in between and God gathered all the lower waters together, and dry… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman

What is Written in the Book of Human Begettings?

Parashat Bereishit (Genesis, 1:1-6:8) As the saying goes: “All beginnings are difficult.” We are reading Bereshit, “In the beginning…,” again. It is the start of a New Year and I am filled with the tentative joy and trepidation of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem. Just at the opening of the gates at Kol Nidrei, I stood with my three-month-old granddaughter, Naomi Tzipora, in my arms—my daughter and son-in-law by my side—filled… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Elisha Herb

Hope is the Thing We Can Do

(Parshat Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26) Diversity can be an excruciating experiment. One person’s story can unravel another’s; our all-too-human desire to be able to narrate our lives in some coherent way can be profoundly challenged by someone else’s need for coherence. At times, diversity fosters a sense of chaos, and efforts to find coherence become especially challenging as our perceptions of difference come into focus. We may feel as if things… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse

Remembering the Sacredness of Speech

Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 Our parashah is in many ways the peak of the dramatic Joseph story. Once cast into bondage in Egypt by his jealous brothers, Joseph has now risen, against the odds, and through his political acumen and remarkable ability to decipher dreams, has become the Pharaoh’s second-in command. A merciless famine in the land of Israel has driven his estranged family to come before Pharaoh’s minister in supplication for… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Monica Gomery

Hope in the Dark

hanuhanukParshat Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:17 The story of Joseph, which continues this week in Parshat Miketz, tells of darkness and dreams. Joseph, the dreamer, is thrown into a pit by his brothers, and later descends into prison, becoming a dream interpreter. Miketz opens with Pharaoh’s prophetic dreams just as we begin to light the menorah. What ties Chanukah together with these parshiyot? According to a midrash on Genesis, “When the sun… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

Grounded in Uncertainty

Parashat Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23 Last spring, a Federal Reserve survey reported that 47% of people living in the United States could not come up with $400 in an emergency. The striking thing about this statistic is not that some people would struggle to pay for unexpected expenses like basic car or home repairs, but that nearly half of the country would. The world we inhabit and the lives we lead… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah minna-bromberg-100px

Anchoring Ourselves in Torah

Parshat Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4 – 36:43 “Someday soon this rhyming volume, if you learn with proper speed/Little Louis Sanchez, will be given you to read.” So wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in a poem for a young nephew who had been named for him but who he’d never met. The poem ends: “[W]hile you thought of no one, nearly half the world away/Someone thought of Louis on the beach of Monterey!”… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse

Bread and Water: Keeping Our Hearts Open

Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 Key moments in the book of Genesis often take place near a well, the quintessential place of sustenance. Throughout the first book of the Bible, the patriarchs dig and re-dig springs, in order to sustain their families and satiate their flocks. Abraham’s servant Hagar and their son Ishmael are delivered from certain death in the wilderness by their vision of a mysterious well. Abraham’s servant Eliezer… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Leora Abelson

Honoring Our Burial Grounds

Parshat Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 When I traveled to Hungary and Poland this past summer with a group of women including four rabbinical students, one rabbi, and the director of a Jewish social justice organization, we visited many burial grounds. We went to cemeteries where important Jewish historical figures are buried, and others where almost all of the gravestones have been stolen or destroyed. (Almost no one visits those cemeteries;… Read Article →