See the Blessings (and Curse)

To think about as you read: When do you clearly see and acknowledge the blessings in your life? What do you think it means to be cursed? What tempts you away from doing the right thing? “Re’eh” — “See”! The Torah portion this week opens with this command by the God of Israel to “see” […]

READ MORE

Vulnerability of the Heart and Land

The name of this week’s parasha, Ekev, is kind of a hard word to translate precisely into English. Here are 3 renditions of the first phrase (Deuteronomy 7 verse 12): “And if you do obey these rules and observe them carefully…” (Jewish Publication Society) “And it shall come about in consequence of your heeding these […]

READ MORE

Deuteronomy, Here We Come!

This week we begin the 5th of the Five Books of Moses: Devarim, which literally translates to “The Words” even though we usually hear “Deuteronomy” as the English (Greek! more on this later below) name. Some like to say, “These Are The Words,” because the entire book amounts to a very long exhortation by Moshe/Moses […]

READ MORE

The End of the Wilderness

As you read and watch, some ideas to consider… How do you reconcile difficult passages in Torah with your concepts of moral behavior? What do you think about creating physical spaces to protect those who have committed some awful wrong (like manslaughter)? What should those spaces be like? What would a contemporary city of refuge […]

READ MORE

A Red Cow, Water, and a Snake?

To think about as you read this week’s installment: What do you think about rituals surrounding purification around death/caring for a deceased person? How do you reconcile following laws that make no sense to you? Would you ever obey a law that you can’t understand? Why or why not? One might think that the way […]

READ MORE

No Good Reason

This week’s Torah portion (parasha) contains one of only two narratives in the entire book of Leviticus — the rest of Leviticus is made up of laws, rules, and instructions. The story this week is of the death of two of Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, and appears at the beginning of chapter 10 and […]

READ MORE

Ritual Then, Ritual Now

As we sit down at our seder tables, I invite you to talk about what rituals you treasure in your life, and why they are important to you. Are they something you inherited or something you made up? How do you feel when you do those rituals? The G-dcast storyteller tells us this week to […]

READ MORE

Leviticus!

This week we began the third book of the Five Books of Moses, Leviticus. The English name comes from the Greek Levitikon, or things pertaining to the Levites, a tribe which includes the priests, who are the major actors in this book. The Hebrew name for this book is VaYikra (“And He (the Lord) called”), […]

READ MORE

The First Successful Fundraiser!

To consider: What’s the relationship between beauty in the material world and the beauty of the spiritual world? When you are in a place of beauty, how is it easier to get in touch with the Divine, or doesn’t it matter? What about the beautification of the body — does it help to be dressed […]

READ MORE

Project Runway: Priest Edition

Last week, we read in some detail about the building of the Ohel Mo’ed, the Tent of Meeting, aka the Miskhan, aka the Dwelling Place of the Divine. In this week’s parasha, called Tetzaveh, we read the elaborate descriptions of the clothing that the priests must wear when they serve God. Our storyteller from G-dcast […]

READ MORE