In Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21-24), read this past week in synagogues around the world, we are introduced to the relatives for whom Kohanim (priests) are permitted to mourn, as well as a list of various classes of priests who, owing to a mum (blemish), are barred from performing the sacrificial service in the Mishkan (Leviticus [...]
–”The Pharisees said, This man is not from #God, because He does not keep the #Sabbath” -#John 9:16 It was a Sunday morning in April when a man named Tagg uploaded a picture of his father onto Twitter. “Busted!” the tweet read. “#mitt2012 sneaking a peek at twitter [sic] during Sunday school.” The attached image displayed a [...]
Bill Bonner’s diatribe against undergraduate education at UVA in the name of Thomas Jefferson and Rabbi HIllel demonstrates the same lazy habits of thinking and writing that I try to drill out of my first year undergraduates. Here’s what he could learn from reading R. Hillel more closely.
Like the ancient Israelites, we should be humbly appreciative, but we complain. We should work together in common cause, but we isolate ourselves into separate camps. We should humbly, simply, and happily be grateful to be alive, free, and partnered with the Divine—by whatever name we know It—seeking only to live and serve the best we can, but we selfishly crave a craving.
In a world that bombards us with information from every side, it can be surprisingly difficult to find truth. This past weekend many Jews celebrated Shavuot, the holiday commemorating God giving the Israelites the Torah at Mt. Sinai. While I don’t believe this happened in the way it’s vividly described in chapters 19 and 20 of [...]
The end of the Counting of the Omer is nearly upon us. We have spent the past seven weeks eagerly, anxiously, perhaps, counting up to Shavuot–to receiving the Torah anew. Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, is one of the three pilgrimage festivals annually observed–the other two are Passover and Sukkot. Each of these festivals [...]
Today is Lag b’Omer, a relatively obscure Jewish holiday, yet one which is deeply meaningful for many, particularly those with a Kabbalistic or more mystical orientation. Lag b’Omer, which literally translates to the thirty-third day of the Omer (Hebrew letters each have numerical equivalents–thus, lamed is equal to thirty and gimmel is equal to three) is [...]
How can I publicly commit to a faith whose sacred texts explicitly condemn an important part of my life? I address this in my Bat Mitzvah drash, on parshat K’doshim-Acharei Mot.
Parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27) is read this week as part of the annual Torah reading cycle in the synagogue. As is the case most years, it is read in conjunction with the parsha or Torah portion which proceeds it—Parashat Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16-18) which is also read on Yom Kippur. Parashat Kedoshim is a parsha [...]
After the joyful Seders and family gatherings have ended and we have entered more deeply into the Passover holiday, I often feel jarred by the Counting of the Omer. Traditional Jews mark this time before Shavuot through abstinence: foregoing weddings, cutting one’s hair and even listening to music. Instead, they devote themselves to internal work [...]