Tag Archives: Seventy Faces of Torah

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“If you see something, sing something.”

Parshat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9 “What are you writing about?” my mother asks. And I grumble at her because I’m sure that talking about it will only reveal how thoroughly undeveloped my thinking really is. But then I remember that — even though I am sitting in her house and using her computer — I am, in fact, a grown up and she is, in fact, someone who is… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Adam Lavitt

Joyful “Seeing”

(Parashat Re’eh, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) A few weeks ago, the largest glacier ever broke off the Antarctic ice shelf. As global temperatures soar and shorelines shrink at an accelerated rate, we become more aware of ways in which our resources are limited. This is compounded by our reactions to these realities. We fear the instability we are witnessing around the world and feel compelled to hold onto whatever resources might help… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman

With Water, String, and Laughter: Finding the Divine

Parshat Pekudei, Exodus 38:21 – 40:38 This month, the Torah has led us on a comprehensive tour of the folk art museum of ancient Israelite desert wandering, a full accounting of the physical culture of our portable sacred space in the wilderness. The prophetic readings paired with the weekly Torah readings amplify the descriptions of the richly textured but makeshift place for the Divine among us, the mishkan or Tabernacle,… 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 Holding Hands Words

Don’t Weaponize Your Words

Far from the fighting in Israel and Gaza, Syria and Ukraine, the peanut gallery reigns supreme. Many of us have anointed ourselves armchair pundits, battling each other in wars of words disturbingly disconnected from the suffering of those in the conflict regions themselves. Rhetoric tears away at rhetoric — or more deafeningly still, is amplified in the echo chambers of our social media feeds of likeminded “friends” and “followers.” Knowing… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Pope Francis

We Do Not Live by Reason Alone

The law of the red heifer in this week’s reading from the Book of Numbers, to put it plainly, makes no sense. The Torah mandates an elaborate ritual of purification by which a red cow is slaughtered and burned and its ashes used to purify those rendered ritually impure by contact with a corpse. Such purification rituals are generally hard for moderns to grasp. But even the ancient Rabbis were… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Holman_Destruction_of_Korah_Dathan_and_Abiram

From the Trenches of the War of Ideas

We find ourselves at a time of growing dispute and polarization. The political discourse is increasingly toxic, and instead of engaging in a deeper exchange, disagreeable ideas are labeled as “outside the camp” which “cannot be tolerated.” With our back against the wall, it feels almost impossible to extend the other side the “benefit of the doubt” or see anything positive in the arguments coming from across the aisle. It… Read Article →

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Shavuot: Divine Light and Earthly Vessels

In preparing for the celebration of the holiday of Shavuot — “The Time of the Giving of Torah,” as it is referred to in countless rabbinic sources — I have been reflecting on a striking teaching from the great Hasidic sage Rabbi Levi Isaac of Berditchev (1740-1809) on the relationship between spiritual inspiration and religious practice. In his commentary on the Torah portion of Terumah (Exod. 25:1-27:19), the Berditchever (as… Read Article →