Tag Archives: Jewish Values

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jordan Braunig

In the Wilderness and the Wilderness Within

Parashat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20) Four books into the Torah and here we find ourselves mired in wilderness. This book, Sefer Bamidbar, though commonly known as the Book of Numbers, would more aptly be translated as In the Wilderness. It tells the story of a people stuck; stuck in existential uncertainty, stuck in mundane nametaking, stuck in adolescent rebellion. Stuck…in the wilderness. A generation of Israelites will perish here. Moses will… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Lehmann

Inward and Outward Facing Holiness

Parshat Acharei Mot and Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-18:30 and 19:1-20:27) Just last week marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the modern State of Israel, and this week’s two Torah readings are often read around the time of Israel’s Independence Day. I would like to think about these two parshiot as a lens through which to view Israel’s sacred mission. The two parshiot that comprise this week’s Torah reading, Acharei… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Killip

Return and Reintegration: A Rite and a Right

Parshat Metzora (Leviticus 14:1-15:33) We start from the assumption that every leper will eventually return to the community. The “יוֹם טָהֳרָתוֹ-day of cleansing” is a given. This is a radical idea. That the Torah instructs us to exile the leper during his ailment can seem harsh and maybe even cruel, but it reflects reality. There are always people on the margins of a society, who for one reason or another… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Gray Myrseth

Teaching at the Edge of Mystery

Parshat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 On a Tuesday towards the end of last summer, I sat in a classroom at my shul, across the table from two twelve-year-old boys. It was the first of many lessons we would have together in the course of their Bar Mitzvah studies and we were discussing their Torah portion assignments. One would be chanting from and speaking about Parshat Shlach Lecha, with its themes of… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Elisha Herb

On Partial Truths

Parasha for the  Last Day of Pesach A fire and brimstone Christian preacher once taught me that the cunning of the snake in Eden was his mastery of “half-truths.” He knew he could hook Eve by saying of the fruit of the forbidden tree, “You will not ‘surely die’— – God knows that on the day you eat of its fruit, your eyes will be opened and you will become… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Hebrew College Tablet Logo

63.5% of Torah Read, Only 36.5% to Go

I’m so glad to see all of you here this morning, and I’m grateful for your presence. I am throwing myself this siyyum to celebrate the Torah reading that I’ve done since I started rabbinical school. I didn’t know how to chant Torah when I started rabbinical school. Let’s be honest, I barely knew Hebrew at the beginning of rabbinical school. So my first bit of thanks should go to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin

Tzav: Offering Our Whole Selves

Parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36) My first summer on staff with the PICO faith-based national organizing network, I heard an encouraging presentation about a model state federation, call it OSC, and how it was changing the politics of its state. Yet, the following summer, all of the OSC staff were inexplicably missing from the national staff gathering. I later learned from my friend and former OSC staffer, whom I’ll call Emily,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Michael Rosenberg

Sacred Fat, Vulnerability, and God’s Choice

Parashat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26) It’s the time of the year when I’ve got fat on my mind. We’ve arrived in the Torah reading cycle to the book of Leviticus, and there are a lot of fleshy, embodied, animal parts going on. We’ve got limbs and meat and blood; it’s a lot—for some too much—to keep track of. But I think that this year, it’s particularly important for us to think… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adam Lavitt

Hope in the Margins

Parashat Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27-19) Speaking with a woman in hospice care, she told me she could not watch the news anymore because it depressed her too much. Though she was facing the end of her life, the turbulence of these times was utterly unbearable to her. In her despair I saw reflected back to me my own certainty, as I look into the public sphere, that our society is stuck…. Read Article →