Tag Archives: Moses

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin

You Cannot Do It Alone

Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23) As a rabbi and organizer for social justice, the past 15 months have been a moral nightmare and an organizer’s dream come true.  As our government increasingly hurts communities of color, poor people, and religious minorities, thousands of concerned citizens—of diverse backgrounds—are coming out of the woodwork, eager to fight back.  Many are entering the political fray for the first time. For years, leaders in the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Nehemia Polen

Seeking God’s Presence in the Sukkah (Shabbat Chol ha-Mo’ed Sukkot, Exodus 33:12-34:26)

Our Torah reading this week, for the Shabbat during Sukkot, is surely one of the most gripping stories in scripture, but at first glance it appears to have little connection with the holiday of Sukkot. The Torah passage narrates the aftermath of the Golden Calf episode, when Moses saw firsthand the apostasy of the Israelites just forty days after the Sinai revelation with its clear command not to make and… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Dan Judson, Director of Professional Development and Placement

This Side of the Promised Land (Parshat Ha’azinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-54)

I had the great pleasure a few weeks ago of moderating an event at Hebrew College at which two psychotherapists and two rabbis reflected on their work with dying patients. Among the many profound insights that came out of this evening, I was particularly struck by something reported by Rabbi Joel Baron of Hebrew Senior Life, who noted how often he worked with patients who felt deeply ready to die…. Read Article →

Uncategorized 7.28.15

Telling Stories of Trauma for Healing and Compassion

The issue of immigration is capturing heightened attention around the world. A wave of immigrants, including many refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Libya, is finding its way through the Balkans into Europe. Others are crossing the Mediterranean in rickety boats, which all too often sink. In Austria, more than 70 bodies of dead immigrants were found in the back of a truck. In the United States, Donald Trump is seizing… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Tissot_Moses_Sees_the_Promised_Land_from_Afar

Radical Compassion: Moses and the Master of Berditchev

According to folklore, the 18th-century Hasidic master Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev was once walking through the streets of the city on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av (which falls during the summer), when he saw a most unexpected site: a Jewish man he knew eating lunch by the side of the road. Ordinarily, this would have been far from remarkable, but the ninth of Av is… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah 040.The_Death_of_Korah_Dathan_and_Abiram-820x1024

Guarding the Mishkan: Peril and Possibility

As depicted in the book of Numbers, the task of creating holy community is truly daunting. Journeying through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, the Israelites stumble from crisis to crisis, none more toxic than the one in this week’s Torah portion. A Levitical chieftain named Korach accuses Moses and Aaron of lording it over the Israelite community and abusing their status as leaders. Appearing before them… 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 heart stone

Power, Oppression and the Hardened Heart

This week’s Torah portion begins with God instructing Moses: “Come to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart” (Exodus 10:1). The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is one of the most confusing aspects of the Exodus story, but has perhaps the most to teach us about freedom and oppression in our world today. Before Moses ever approaches Pharaoh to plead for the Israelites’ release from slavery, it seems that God has… Read Article →

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 →