Tag Archives: Genesis-rav

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Woman as God’s Partner in Creation (Parashat B’reishit, Genesis 1:1-6:8)

In my lifetime, the Torah’s story of the beginning of humanity has loomed large. The version we find in Genesis 2-3, the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, has especially been a matter of intense and fruitful controversy in the years in which I’ve studied and taught Torah. For me, it all started with the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir’s book, The Second Sex, in which… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lev

The Shma, Activism, and Maccabiah

Parshat Vayechi, 47:28-50:26 What’s spiritual about going to a protest? I participated in one last month, on a midtown Manhattan street in the early dark of a November evening, wearing my “protest tallit” (the white one I received from Hebrew College at my rabbinic ordination). My companions were farmworkers from Florida’s Coalition of Immokalee Workers  and their multifaith allies, calling on the leadership of the Wendy’s fast-food chain to become the… Read Article →

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Family Across the Divide

Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 The refugee stood before the government official and pleaded for mercy. His plight was desperate. He came with a large family, seeking asylum from conditions in his home country. Loved ones were still back home, awaiting word. Returning home without help meant death. There is a new term in the international humanitarian scene: climate refugee. As drought, flooding, crop failures and water shortages become more frequent,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

On Joseph, Shaving, and Being Human

Parashat Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:14 Current events have conspired to make Paris the moral heart of our world, calling us to reflect on where we are going as a world community. The recent terror attacks in the City of Light have unleashed a staggering level of unfounded fear and demonization of Muslims and Syrian refugees, which has distorted, as it did after the attacks of 9/11, a legitimate conversation about liberty… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

No Guarantees for the Righteous

Parshat Vayishlach, Genesis 32:3-36:43 The Torah is famously laconic about the emotional lives of its central characters. We are left to imagine what Abraham was feeling as he walked up Mount Moriah with his son Isaac at his side, or what Rachel felt when she discovered that her older sister Leah had laid with Jacob in the marital bed intended for her. It is all the more striking, then, that… Read Article →

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Prayer and Meditation in the Aftermath of the Paris Attacks

Last weekend, I served as a teacher at an interreligious peace conference in North Carolina, at a beautiful retreat center at the edge of the Great Smokey Mountains. As we wound down programming on Friday night, word spread throughout the assembled group about the terrorist attacks in Paris. The juxtaposition of our retreat theme and bucolic setting with the violence on the blood-soaked streets of the French capital weighed heavily on… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah genesis

Joy and Loss: Holding the Fullness of Possibility

Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 The Torah conceives and births generations of children before we hear a woman’s voice speak of what it is to be pregnant.  In this week’s Torah reading, Parshat Toldot, we hear Rebecca, the second matriarch of the Jewish people, in response to her twin pregnancy:  “The two children wrestled within her, and she said, ‘If so, why am I here?’ She went to search for God,… Read Article →

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“Good Old Age”: Living and Dying Well

Parshat Hayyei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 Last year this time, my Facebook feed blew up with an article in The Atlantic written by the physician and bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel. Emanuel argued that many Americans were unnecessarily extending their lives, sacrificing quality of life for quantity, spending the last years of their lives physically and mentally deteriorating, in hospitals and nursing homes for unnaturally long stretches of time. Instead of engaging in… Read Article →

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Becoming Like Prophets

Parshat Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 “Can one man really change the world?” the young senator from Illinois was asked in his Presidential election race. He was comparatively unknown and he had only served one term in the Senate. But he defeated nominees far more experienced and renowned in his run for the Presidency; his great oratory and ability to sense the mood of the times won hearts and minds to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah creation

Back to the Garden, and Forward

The holiday season has come and gone. Moses has ascended Mount Nebo, looked across the Jordan and suddenly the world is created all over again. Here we are, back at Genesis 1:1, “in the beginning.” Our Torah begins with God’s creation of the world. This stands as the basis of our Judaism, as it does of all religion, which emerges out of gratitude for our existence. We acknowledge a God… Read Article →