The Numbers of Those Who Wandered in the Wilderness (Be-Midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20)

It is time for Jews to hold fast to our Promised Land, but to admit to the other’s catastrophe. It is time to urge the Palestinians and the Israelis to return to the table to find a way to peace for two peoples, in two states. It is time to bring an end to the wandering in the wilderness. Read more

Overhearing God’s Voice (Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89)

How do we hear God speak, if, that is, we hear God speak at all? Would the world be a better and safer place if we did; or would it be even more frightening and unstable? Read more

Heeding the Call to Protect the Land (Bechukotai, Leviticus 26:3-27:34)

Throwing up our hands is not the answer. We may be facing unprecedented conditions, but we also can return to ancient insights that teach us that humans are much more intertwined with the fate of the land than we moderns think. Read more

Leviticus: Keeping Holiness Simple (Behar, Leviticus 25:1-26:2)

By Dr. Stephen Hazan Arnoff For centuries, formal Jewish study began not with Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible, and not with the Mishna, the first codex of lived Jewish law, but with Leviticus, also known as Torat Kohanim, or the Book of Priests. While focusing in many sections, like last week’s portion of Emor, on practices and obligations of the priestly class, Leviticus addresses all Israelites as a “nation of priests” whose relationship with holiness is nothing… Read more

How to Love Your Neighbor (Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27)

The Torah teaches that our love and righteousness are measured not only by our own actions, but also by the extent to which we lovingly create an ethical and just family, community, and society. This isn’t so easy. Read more

The Momentum of Freedom (Passover)

Passover is a time for contemplating the meaning of freedom — allowing us to leap forward in the cycle of redemption, freedom, and reconstruction. Read more

Covering the Blood Before Us (Acharei Mot, Leviticus 16:1-18:30)

By Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz In the Torah portion of Acharei-Mot, we learn the obligation of “kisui ha’dam,” to cover the blood produced from slaughtering (Leviticus 17:13). Commentators take a number of different approaches to explain the reason for this mitzvah. Rambam argues that this ritual is meant to distance Jewish practice from pagan blood rites. He suggests that pagans would collect the blood after slaughter and eat the animal’s meat while sitting around the blood; for Rambam, we pour out… Read more

Life on the Margins (Tazria, Leviticus 12:1-13:59)

What does it feel like to live at the edge, on the margins of community? Read more

Jewish Memory Week: A Tale in Three Parts (Zachor, Deuteronomy 25:17-19)

The worst tragedy we can perpetuate today as the Jewish people would be the act of violence to our own past that comes with making memory monolithic – with isolating only one of these moral threads from this three-fold cord of self/other/now. Read more

Situating God: Revisiting Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26)

Deep connection, mercy and knowledge of God are not visible commodities the way that sheep are. Perhaps this was the real transformation that occurred with the completion of the Mishkan. Read more