Category Archives: Parshat HaShavuah

Hesed Is The Prayer And The Answer

When Sarah died at the age of 127, Abraham’s family lost its hesed, the caring, steadfast acts that connect people and sustain the world. Sarah’s hesed was unfailing, even in difficult times. Let this be your hesed to me, Abraham … Continue reading

Posted in Blessing, Parshat HaShavuah, Poetry, Torah | 2 Comments

Wholly Complete And Holy Incomplete

The Torah’s first creation story concludes: Va-yechulu…And the heaven and the earth and all of their ranks were finished. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done and rested on the seventh day from all … Continue reading

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Naming The Unimaginable

At the harrowing end, a ram replaced Yitzhak as the sacrifice; a narrow escape that came only after two divine interventions to divert father Abraham from his unimaginable mission. Generations of rabbinic storytellers imagined even narrower escapes for Yitzhak, placing … Continue reading

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Believe it—And Not

Noah was lacking in belief, taught the 3rd century teacher, Rabbi Yohanan. If not for the water reaching his ankles, he would not have entered the ark. Lacking in belief? Noah, who fulfilled the twin tasks of building the great … Continue reading

Posted in Midrash, Parshat HaShavuah, Torah | 4 Comments

Forgetting Reminds Me…

The national election created in me a deep sense that I wanted to meet and speak with more of my neighbors. In my busy-ness, it’s easy to walk past the community of the every-day. That seems wrong to me now. … Continue reading

Posted in Names, Parshat HaShavuah, Torah | 5 Comments

Created On The Second Day

When was love created? asked a modern Israeli poet. When were the angels made? an ancient sage inquired. Each question contains an essential quest: to read a detail of personal interest both into, and out of, the few verses of … Continue reading

Posted in Angels, Midrash, Parshat HaShavuah, Poetry | 1 Comment

A Branch of the Tree of Life

Moses’ staff escaped our notice completely until God drew attention to it by asking Moses: What is that in your hand? (Exodus 4:2). That staff is the most animated of all the inanimate objects in the Torah. Jolted from scaly … Continue reading

Posted in Midrash, Parshat HaShavuah, Poetry | 6 Comments

Divine Gaze

After the fiasco of the golden calf, a resentful God said to the pleading Moses: You cannot see my face, for no one can see my face and live (Exodus 33:20). So says one ancient story teller: It was taught … Continue reading

Posted in Parshat HaShavuah, Poetry, Talmud | 5 Comments

Overturning A Mountain of Tradition

An ancient story teller uprooted Mount Sinai and held it threateningly over the people of Israel: They stood beneath the mountain (Exodus 19:17). Said Rav Avdimi bar Hama bar Hasa, This teaches that the Blessed Holy One vaulted the mountain … Continue reading

Posted in Parshat HaShavuah, Poetry, Talmud | 2 Comments

Sufficient Meaning?

The Torah’s written words are not sufficient.   It is the reading of the word and not the word alone that produces meaning.  Meaning appears when timely experiences enter into conversation with the timeless text. Rashi, the great commentator, gives an … Continue reading

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