May 23, 2022

By Rabbi Shira Shazeer Parashat Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34) We live in times of global pandemic; new unexplained and terrifying diseases; legal and political challenges to human dignity and bodily autonomy; supply chain issues creating, among other shortages, a nationwide baby formula crisis; the humanitarian disaster caused by the Russia invasion of Ukraine; rising antisemitism, white supremacy, transphobia and other varieties of hate; and gun violence both related and unrelated to them. Our society, our world, is plagued by so much trouble,... Read more

May 16, 2022

Rev. Tom Reid Parshat Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2) As I write this, I am sitting on a plane. It should not be surprising, yet it is undeniably powerful how much a shift in our physical location can impact our perspective. The world looks very different from 30,000 feet. As I have read and reread this parsha, my eyes have wandered to the view of the world down below as seen from the small airplane window to my right—my portal looking out on... Read more

May 10, 2022

By Rabbi Jim Morgan  Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23) When I’m teaching, I often receive feedback from people that they are outraged by this or that passage in the Torah. “Why do we keep this?” people ask. Or: “We should cancel this verse.” I can, and sometimes do, respond that in our tradition – as in Islam and Christianity – we do not simply “change” the Bible. We can adjust a translation or shift an emphasis or pursue an apologia, but excising... Read more

May 4, 2022

By Rav Hazzan Ken Richmond Parshat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27) Last week my consortium of synagogues commemorated Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, gathering in person for the first time in three years to lift up our voices together, light candles, recite prayers, and to have the rare privilege of hearing testimony from a survivor and his family. As with many events these days, we were hybrid, with an option to participate and view the event via live stream. Many people tuned into... Read more

April 26, 2022

By Frankie Sandmel Parshat Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1–18:30) Parshat Acharei Mot, in all honesty, evokes a reaction along the lines of, “Ugh, are we still reading this? Aren’t we healed from this already? Can we skip it this year?” It opens with the fallout from the dramatic, public deaths of Aaron’s sons and closes with a list of all of the forbidden sexual practices, including the particularly dicey Leviticus 18:22, “Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman;... Read more

April 18, 2022

By Naomi Gurt Lind Achron shel Pesach (Exodus 13:17-15:26) After our seders We come back to B’shallach Yet we’re also changed Bechol dor vador Generations see ourselves Leaving our narrows All Jews forever Each and every one of us Lives this story out Moses leads us forth Stands up to his own demons Also to Pharaoh When we make our way God sends us the long way round Scared we might turn back A pillar of cloud Keeps us company... Read more

April 12, 2022

Pesach (Exodus 12:21-12:51) by Rabbi Adina Allen וּלְקַחְתֶּם אֲגֻדַּת אֵזוֹב וּטְבַלְתֶּם בַּדָּם אֲשֶׁר בַּסַּף וְהִגַּעְתֶּם אֶל הַמַּשְׁקוֹף וְאֶל שְׁתֵּי הַמְּזוּזֹת מִן הַדָּם אֲשֶׁר בַּסָּף וְאַתֶּם לֹא תֵצְאוּ אִישׁ מִפֶּתַח בֵּיתוֹ עַד בֹּקֶר You shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and apply it to the lintel and the two side-posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the entrance of their... Read more

April 5, 2022

By Rabbi Micha’el Rosenberg  Parashat Metzora (Leviticus 14:1-15:33) This week’s parashah, Metzora, continues the discussion, begun last week, about nega‘im (singular: nega‘)–various kinds of physical irregularities, found on the human body, in clothing, and, finally, on the walls of homes. Each generates ritual impurity, and each has a ritual for diagnosing and then, upon healing, ending the period of impurity. In the case of nega‘im found on a house, the Torah says: The owner of the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, “There seems... Read more

March 29, 2022

Parashat Tazria (Leviticus 12:1-13:59) By Heather Renetzky Parashat Tazria, with its long and dry list of details about leprosy, has never felt so relevant. It’s as if some of this parasha’s questions were taken straight out of a CDC press conference. When is it important to isolate yourself from others for health reasons? In what situations can we be more lenient? Is illness transmittable through surfaces? The Etz Chayim commentary on the parasha notes, “Perhaps no concept in the Torah is less accessible to... Read more

March 22, 2022

Parashat Shemini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47) By Rafi Ellenson | March 22, 2022 Often, we don’t see our imperfections until we’ve completed our first drafts. This isn’t a problem. It’s a beautiful and essential part of human nature. We don’t and we can’t achieve perfection. We can only try and try again where we fall short. Consider the creation narrative in Genesis. Seven days creates one perfect, whole, complete cycle of creation and rest. After that—on the eighth day—is when humanity really... Read more

Browse Our Archives