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Tag Archives: Israelites

Emor – Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23

This week’s reading builds upon last week’s distinction between the Priestly Torah, which focuses on the priestly views of ritual (as distinct from those of the masses), and the Holiness Code, which interweaves the priestly elements of ritual with popular customs. What further distinguishes Chapters 21 and 22 of Leviticus from the rest of the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/emor-leviticus-211-2423-3/ Continue Reading...

Vayikra — Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26

A strange miniature Aleph opens this week’s parsha, the only one of its kind in the Torah. What does it mean? In our study of the Zohar, we discovered the most remarkable insight: “A miniature aleph — deriving from a diminished place, diminished becoming great as it joins above.” The mystics understand this seemingly obscure […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayikra-leviticus-11-526-3/ Continue Reading...

VayakhelPekudei — Exodus 35:1 – 40:38

The genius of every design by Steve Jobs (1955-2011) was an ability to understand what his community of users really wanted. Jobs was single-minded, and at times ruthless, in directing his designers to respond to community, to “have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Community is founded upon shared values and built upon […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayakhel-exodus-351-3820-3/ Continue Reading...

Ki Tissa — Exodus 30:11 – 34:35

Construction of the Tabernacle is left to the wise-hearted artisans, Bezalel and Aholiav, and proceeds according to schedule, but Moses does not return from atop Mount Sinai exactly when expected (32:1). This leads the impatient Israelites to sculpt a molten calf of gold and worship it (32:6). When he finally returns, Moses sees his people […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ki-tissa-exodus-3011-3435-3/ Continue Reading...

Julian Rapaport’s Bar Mitzvah

Shalom, my name is Julian Rapaport. I am a seventh grader at The Brandeis School of San Francisco. People describe me as an “old soul” and I guess they are right. I love playing Beatles records on my new turntable, listening to Mel Brooks’ 2,000 Year Old Man, and following politics. I also play saxophone in […] http://bethsholomsf.org/julian-rapaports-bar-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Yitro — Exodus 18:1–20:23

Whether we are reading The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad, Beowulf, or La Chanson de Roland, we immediately recognize something all great works of literature tend to share in common — all mark out their protagonists as heroes from the outset. So who is the real hero in the Moses story? When we turn to […] http://bethsholomsf.org/yitro-exodus-181-2023-3/ Continue Reading...

Beshalach — Exodus 13:17–17:16

How does any reasonable person react when facing “the lesser of two evils” or “an offer you can’t refuse”? When we find ourselves “on the horns of a dilemma,” we are usually “trapped between a rock and a hard place” — this is a feeling we know all too well in life, whether in business […] http://bethsholomsf.org/beshalach-exodus-1317-1716-3/ Continue Reading...

Bo — Exodus 10:1–13:16

Insofar as it relates to modern life, religious scholars have cast the role of ritual in a certain light, understanding how it forms and informs our human societies and cultures through that preferred lens. In her renowned study, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice (1992), the anthropologist of religion Catherine Bell challenges some of the assumptions that […] http://bethsholomsf.org/bo-exodus-101-1316-3/ Continue Reading...

Leilah Goode’s Bat Mitzvah

Hello. My name is Leilah Goode. I am a seventh grader at Claire Lilienthal Middle School. I love playing soccer, going to pop concerts, watching movies, and hanging out with my friends in addition to exploring all that San Francisco has to offer. In Parashat Bo (“Go!”), God commands Moses to “Go to Pharaoh” to […] http://bethsholomsf.org/leilah-goodes-bat-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Vayigash — Genesis 44:18 – 47:27

Great change happens with the smallest of steps. That change is captured poignantly in this week’s opening verse, when Judah selflessly pleads for the release of his brother, Benjamin: “Then Judah went up to [Joseph] and said: ‘Please, my lord…’” (Genesis 44:18). This is the dramatic moment where Judah is called upon to facilitate the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayigash-genesis-4418-4727-3/ Continue Reading...