Shavuot Rules

A Meditation on Rules: My Shavuot Postscript

The ten family rules for Shavuot

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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” […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Sight and Smell, Bodies, and Losing Faith

To consider as you read about the week’s Torah portion, Ki Tissa: Which of your senses is the most important to you in understanding the world? Is this also the sense that helps you tap into your spiritual self? Why does the writer of the Bible use the human body when describing God? Why did […]

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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 […]

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Everything I Know About Being Bad I Learned in Hebrew School

Personal narrative from a woman who rebelled against her Orthodox upbringing by leaving home, eating non-kosher food and dating non-Jews.

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