Haazinu: Music In The Message (Deut 32:1 – 32:52)


In Parsha Haazinu Moses recites the song he scribed in the previous portion. He knows his life and his life’s work is at an end and as a parting song Moses recites words that act as an indictment of the ancient Hebrew’s sins, words that foretell punishment for future sins, and words that reassure them […]

Every Day Is A Choice (Parsha Nitzavim and Vayeilech)


Silence and solitude mark my mornings. Slipping from beneath the sheets into a dark room, I turn the lights low and put the coffee maker to percolating. I measure out oatmeal and stir it slowly on the stove. I sit in community with my thoughts and ground myself in the quiet, solid force of my […]

Eat, Pray, Eat (Parshah Ki Tavo)


I’m psyched about Rosh Hashanah. I’m supposed to say that for spiritual reasons. But really, I like apples and honey. This week’s Torah portion is about fruit. The first fruit, in fact. We’re supposed to give that up as a sacrifice to G-d. And, surprise, G-d will bless us. Kinda anti-climactic, but not every part […]

Sex Saturates Our Torah: Parshah Ki Tetzei


Sex saturates our Torah. So many of the stories central to our tradition thrive on sexuality, sensuality and straight eroticism. Entirely of her own volition, Sarah gives her handmaid, Hagar, to her husband for purposes of procreation. Lot’s daughters get their father drunk and seduce him. Onan resorts to the withdrawal method to avoid the […]

Long Live the Trees…and the Jewish Pope? (Parshat Shoftim)

2011 Torah

In parsha Shofetim, Moshe continues his lengthy oration to the Israelites. He talks about government, specifically about setting up courts and “setting a king over” themselves. He says that the king should be a Jew, not a foreigner, and that he should not have many wives, nor should he have many horses, nor should he […]

Flashback Friday: Is Jewish Life Getting Better Or Worse? (Parshah Va’etchanan)


A guy once told me that, at least in his opinion, Jewish life was getting worse from generation to generation. The farther away we moved from Sinai, he believed, the more we forgot about the mitzvot and thus were farther removed from God. He cited the Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements as proof of that. […]