Tag Archives: Torah Commentary

Seventy Faces of Torah Alicia-Jo-Rabins

Back to the Garden

When I moved from New York City to Portland three years ago, my life changed in many ways. One of the biggest: I began to garden. Gardening may not sound like a big deal. But for me, it’s been life-changing. Not only are the herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers I’ve been tending delicious and gorgeous; they’ve also become great teachers of Torah for me. They teach me daily about time,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Sue Fendrick

The Bells That Still Can Ring: On Rest and Action

I wonder if there is a song lyric quoted more often in High Holiday sermons than the chorus of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”: “Ring the bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” It’s not hard to see the homiletical appeal of Cohen’s poignant words to congregations of imperfect human beings. Nor is it a stretch to understand why these words… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

The Human Soul is a Candle of God: Finding Meaning in Existence

Parashat Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23 (Also read this blog on The Huffington Post) My wife’s grandmother is 94 years old. She lives alone in the same house she has lived in for decades. She is remarkably healthy, but is at an age when many people would have already moved into a retirement community or an assisted living facility. But she has no interest in moving. As we age, leaving our homes… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lisa Goldstein

Beyond Ghosts and Familiar Spirits: Finding Holiness in the Old and the New

Parshat Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27 We are on a multi-layered journey. On the Jewish holiday calendar, after leaving Egypt two weeks ago with all the attendant fear and drama of Passover we are moving steadily toward the holiday of Shavuot–on which we celebrate the revelation of the Torah–and thus toward Mt. Sinai. In the Torah reading cycle, this week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim, gives us a small taste of what we might… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lev Nelson

The Mothers of the Priests

Parshat Acharei Mot, Leviticus 16:1-18:30 “Elisheva had five reasons to rejoice above the other daughters of Israel: her brother-in-law was king; her husband, High Priest; her sons, deputy [priests], her grandson, a priest-ordained-for-war; and her brother, chieftain of a tribe—and [yet] she had to mourn two sons.” (Talmud, Zevachim 102a) When Nadav and Avihu died on the great day of the inauguration of the mishkan, the tabernacle in the wilderness,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Jonathan Wittenberg

Violence and Vision

Passover: seventh day, Exodus 13:17-15:26; eighth day, Deuteronomy 15:10-16:17 The ancient rabbis chose Isaiah’s vision of peace on earth as the prophetic reading to accompany the Torah reading for the 8th day of Passover, the Festival of Freedom. The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid, calf and young lion and fatling together, and a little child shall lead them…(Isaiah 11:6) “Indeed!” observed one of my teachers… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Arthur Green

Liberation: A Sacred Moment

(Passover; Readings for First Days–Exodus 12:21-51 and Leviticus 22:26-23:44) On the second day of Passover, Jews begin a period called sefirat ha-omer, when we publicly count off each day for the next fifty, concluding with the holiday of Shavuot. (Hence the Greek term Pentecost, for the fiftieth day.) While originally a practice used for calculating the agricultural season, the rabbinic tradition used it to establish a deep connection between these… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Michael-Rosenberg

The Mitzvah Of Getting Dirty

Parshat Metzora, Leviticus 14:1-15:3 I am an unabashed lover of Leviticus. And not just the “Be holy,” “Love your neighbor as yourself” second half of Leviticus, but especially the “slaughter the cow…sprinkle its blood” first half. “Be holy” sounds great, but what does it actually mean? What am I supposed to do to fulfill this vague entreaty? But the first half of Leviticus, which deals with how to perform sacrifices… Read Article →

Community Blog Daniel-Klein

Singing in the Dark: Leviticus and the Call for Social Justice

“There’s a part of the singer going way back in American history that is of course the canary in the coalmine. When it gets dark, you’re supposed to be singing. It’s dark right now.” Bruce Springsteen made this statement in 2007, but it is no less relevant today. Current events have brought to the fore and emphasized a dramatic sense of uncertainty, frustration and longing that exists in our society…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah sharon-weiss-greenberg

Paid Maternity Leave: Are We “Ready”?

Parshat Tazria, Leviticus 12:1-15:33 6,420 Jewish educators from day schools, campuses, summer camps, synagogues, and other areas of Jewish life…When asked one question—the names of day schools with paid maternity leave—only 11 US schools could be named. While the US is debating how to make America great again, one place to start might be by implementing any semblance of the maternity leave policies that the Canadian, Israeli, and European educators… Read Article →