There’s No Such Thing As Judaism (or, Why Religion Is Just Like A Love Letter): Parshah Acharei

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Two ideas today: Azazel and love letters. Azazel This week’s Torah portion goes into details about the Yom Kippur service, which frankly was a lot bloodier than the hunger-and-white-clothing event we have today. Acharei also talks about the casting of lots onto goats for sacrifice to G-d and to Azazel. You know, Azazel. I’m sure […]

Parshah Metzorah: Lashon Hara

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This week’s Torah portion, Metzorah, arrives amidst a number of Torah portions that are quite often difficult to reconcile with modern thinking. In last week’s portion we learned about the signs of the metzora, a condition that is the result, the Torah tells us, of a spiritual malady which puts the person in a state […]

Parshah Tazria & Itchy Skin Diseases

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Icky skin diseases consume most of our attention in this week’s Torah portion, but the cause and effect probably aren’t what you think. Our parsha goes into great detail about a handful of different skin afflictions, collectively called “tzaraat,” all subject to inspection by the priests. (The theme is expanded in next week’s parsha to […]

Parsha Shemini: Living A Double Life (Lev. 9:1 – 11:47)

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Leviticus can be a very daunting book, especially when you limit your Dvar to a very loose free association style discussion. In previous posts I mention for this Torah cycle I want to challenge myself by not relying on more scholarly Jew’s commentaries for my weekly Dvar but Leviticus is definitely a book where commentaries […]

Parsha Tzav: Seriously Dude! Another Way Too Short Dvar or Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? (Lev. 6:1 – 8:36)

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Parsha Tzav is the continuation of Torah’s listing of which offerings require this or that and how those offerings should be ceremoniously carried out. Oh and once the list of offerings is complete Moses clothes Aaron and anoints him and his sons as Judaic Priests. Tzav does not teach us anything new, but what it […]