Tag Archives: God

Seventy Faces of Torah yaakov-bows-before-esav

I and I

Jacob’s struggle in this week’s Torah portion is framed by revelations about the meanings embedded in places and names. Nothing surprising there — who gives a name, what that name means and how a place becomes known for the transformative moments occurring upon it, all define much of the biblical story. Vayishlach begins with our hero on the run. Recall that Jacob emerges from his mother Rebekah just moments after… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Student Blog abu

Gates of Tears

In this week’s parsha, we are deep in a difficult family story. Yitzhak and Rivka struggle to conceive and after she conceives, the struggle continues in her womb. It gets no simpler once their sons are born. Esav emerges first, hairy and red, followed closely by Yaakov, clinging tightly to Esav’s heel. The boys are quickly caught up in a multigenerational cycle of favoritism and deception. When Yitzhak has grown… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Parsha Vayetze

The Long Journey of Cultivating Gratitude

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving, which for many of us is less about gratitude and more about consumption, consumerism and perhaps some family discord. Dedicating time to be grateful is hard. It’s often easier to think about what we don’t have or what’s not going quite right yet than it is to stop, clear out the noise of daily life and give thanks. American culture doesn’t help us much —… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah images

Something New, Higher and Unexpected

Jews are known as the People of the Book. This designation speaks to Judaism’s focus on the intellect, its emphasis on theological argumentation and dedicated study. However, it is clear from the Torah that Jews also come from a long line of people rooted in the earth — from the first humans in the Garden of Eden, placed there to till and to tend, to Moses, who learned how to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah avraham-malachim

Resting Beneath the Tree

In Parshat Vayera, we meet Abraham resting near the entrance of his tent. He notices three weary travelers approaching, and he runs to greet them, with no regard for the intense heat of the day (as one midrash tells us)–or the fact that he is still healing after having circumcised himself as a part of his covenant with God. “Rest beneath the tree” (Genesis 18:4), Abraham implores the visitors, enjoining… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah rainbow

Marheshvan – In the Wake of the Floodwaters

And as I watch the drops of rain Weave their weary paths and die, I know that I am like the rain There but for the grace of You go I. (Paul Simon, “Kathy’s Song”) Marheshvan (or Heshvan) is the month of darkening days creeping towards the winter solstice, leaves ablaze on the New England trees, dank air and occasional torrential rains. Nights lengthen, the dawn is incrementally delayed, and… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah 80

Others, Brothers

The first big question that is posed in the Bible is when God asks Adam: “Ayeka–Where are you?”(Genesis 3:9). This is not the divine GPS gone awry; physical location is of no interest to God here. This one-word query in Hebrew is the spiritual and existential question par excellence. And since it is asked in reference to wrongdoing – eating of the forbidden fruit – it has a moral dimension… Read Article →

Community Blog Noah's Ark

This Side of the Rainbow

On the day of my wedding, 22 years ago this past August, my mother – who does not distribute such compliments freely or lightly – said to my husband Shimi, “You are the best possible son-in-law I could imagine.” A few minutes later, Shimi – feeling both honored and relieved – shared the compliment with a friend. “My mother-in-law just told me that I’m her ideal son-in-law!” My mother, who… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah talking-to-god2

Overhearing God’s Voice

How do we hear God speak, if, that is, we hear God speak at all? Would the world be a better and safer place if we did; or would it be even more frightening and unstable? The Torah describes the great procession with which the Children of Israel marked the dedication of the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Numbers 7). Perhaps it wasn’t as dull an occasion as it seems in… Read Article →