Tag Archives: parsha

Seventy Faces of Torah Cantor Ken Richmond

Where have you come from and where are you going?

Starting Points & Destinations on our Journeys Parashat Massei (Numbers 33:1-36:13) A middle school history teacher once asked my class why people immigrate; our suggestions all fell under her simple overarching answer, that people immigrate in search of a better life. Almost all Americans, the Jewish community included, are descendants of immigrants; many of us have stories of how our families came to the United States. My Zayda, Sol (Shleime… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jane Kanarek

Asking for Change

About ten years ago, I was introduced to two books that have become part of my must-read list: Women Don’t Ask and Ask For It. Written by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, these books describe the cultural reasons women do not often ask for what they want, the costs of not doing so, and strategies for negotiation. In contexts both personal and professional, these books teach women how to ask and, in the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Gray Myrseth

Justice in the Wilderness

As a person who grew up in a relatively non-observant Jewish home, with little to no Hebrew, I used to only know the fourth book of the Torah as Numbers. This title calls to mind an orderly census-taking, a linear and rational accounting. And to be sure, there is plenty of counting in the Book of Numbers, but that tidiness is a thin veneer over the turmoil, wandering, crying out,… Read Article →

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

Something of Redemption

Parshat Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9) This week’s Torah portion contains one of the more famous verses from the Torah, “How good are your tents Jacob, your dwelling places Israel/ mah tovu ohalekha Yaakov, mishkanotekha Yisrael” The context for the verse is the unusual tale of Balaam. Balaam is a foreign prophet who is called to curse Israel by Balak, a king who fears Israel’s might. But every time Balaam comes to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Leora Abelson

Death as a Sacred Moment

Parashat Chukkat (Numbers 19:1-22:1) When June rolls around, I feel a certain sadness that contrasts with the natural world, with the bursting of life in the temperate northeast where I live. June is when the trees are in full flower, the grass is thick, and the days are long. This joyful context means it always takes me a minute to remember why I feel sad—because my grandfathers died in June,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Or Rose

Look Inward: Learning from Korach’s Downfall

Parshat Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32) In this week’s Torah portion, Korah (after whom the reading is named) and other prominent members of ancient Israelite society brazenly challenge Moses and Aaron’s leadership, resulting in the dramatic death of the rebels through supernatural means (16:31-35). Over the centuries, biblical interpreters have explored the figure of Korah, a member of the Levite tribe and Moses and Aaron’s cousin. What inspired this man to challenge… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Gray Myrseth

Shlach Lecha/Not a Sound

(Parshat Sh’lach  (Numbers, 13:1-15:41) And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation said to them,  “I wish we had died in the land of Egypt or that we had already died in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:2) Fear is not an animal. It is not warm. It does not bend. Once the ocean bent beneath my hand. Was it that simple? Yes. The crabs… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Emma-Kippley-Ogman

Divine Presence is a Cloud that is Fire

Parshat Beha’alotecha (Numbers 8:1-12:16) “Mai shamayim, what are the heavens?” asks the Gemara about the second day of Creation when earth and heavens came to be separate entities (Ta’anit 12a).  “An old teaching answers: esh umayim, fire and water.  The Holy Blessed One scrambled them together each in the other and made from them the firmament.” אש ומים becomes שמים, the letters themselves combining to make something new out of… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

Finding our Way Inside: The Priestly Blessing as a Model for Jewish Practice

Parshat Naso (Numbers, 4:21-7:89) In his book Lost Connections, Johann Hari shares a fascinating and, for me, paradigm shifting study about the connection between work and mental health. The study, done by Australian scientist Michael Marmot in the 1970s, shows that workplace stress and depression is highly correlated to the amount of control people have over their work. The more control a person has over her work, the less stressed and… Read Article →

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 →