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Tag Archives: Torah Byte

Chukat — Numbers 19:1 – 22:1

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_Chukat “The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world.” I am often struck by the prescience of 19th-century German sociologist Max Weber, author of the influential The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-05). Notwithstanding the “disenchantment” that ensues in modernity with the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/chukat-numbers-191-221-2/ Continue Reading...

Korah — Numbers 16:1 – 18:32

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_Korah During a brief visit to Dublin, the birthplace of Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854), I was struck by the author, playwright, and poet’s quick wit and keen observations about human nature. Wilde once quipped that, “Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everyone in good society holds exactly the same opinion.” Torah, on the other hand, teaches […] http://bethsholomsf.org/korah-numbers-161-1832-2/ Continue Reading...

Shelach Lecha — Numbers 13:1 – 15:41

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_ShelachLecha “Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you are being watched and recorded.” This remark by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) subcontractor who made headlines in 2013 when he leaked top secret information about NSA surveillance activities, is indeed curious – and it has theological implications. In a wired, connected world in […] http://bethsholomsf.org/shelach-lecha-numbers-131-1541/ Continue Reading...

Beha’alotecha – Numbers 8:1 – 12:16

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_BehaAlotecha How does ritual allow for the building of community practice? Ongoing commitment to communal ritual requires trust. Another key for community building I learned from Dr. Sarale Shadmi-Wortman (Oranim College of Education) while on the Rabin Bay Area Leadership Mission to Israel is Mutual Trust: The “willingness of individuals to join and help others without […] http://bethsholomsf.org/behaalotecha-numbers-81-1216-2/ Continue Reading...

Naso — Numbers 4:21 – 7:89

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_Naso Another key community building lesson I learned from Dr. Sarale Shadmi-Wortman (Oranim College of Education) during the Rabin Bay Area Leadership Mission to Israel is the importance of Belonging – a sense that “this is mine,” a feeling of ownership and full inclusion in a group that allows “a community to become part of the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/naso-numbers-421-789/ Continue Reading...

Bamidbar — Numbers 1:1 – 4:20

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_Bamidbar Community building requires many relational building blocks for success. As we journey through the Book of Numbers this year, I am reflecting upon the lessons I learned with Dr. Sarale Shadmi-Wortman (Oranim College of Education) during the Rabin Bay Area Leadership Mission to Israel. There are four tangible ways of measuring the intangibles of intentional […] http://bethsholomsf.org/bamidbar-numbers-11-420-2/ Continue Reading...

Behar / Bechukotai – Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_Behar-Bechukotai “Sowing the seed, my hand is one with the earth. …Hungry and trusting, my mind is one with the earth. Eating the fruit, my body is one with the earth.“ Wendell Berry’s poem “Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer” asks us to consider how the farmer is like the farm. Similarly, the strong language […] http://bethsholomsf.org/behar-bechukotai-leviticus-251-2734/ Continue Reading...

Emor – Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_Emor 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-211-2423-2/ Continue Reading...

Acharei Mot / Kedoshim – Leviticus 16:1 – 20:27

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_AchareiMot-Kedoshim In conversation with a Jewish artist, I recently quipped that all artists must see their art as an offering to the Other Side. “What?!,” the artist exclaimed. In order to quell the energy of the negative forces in the universe, I explained, the mystical interpretation of many rituals, especially sacrifice, is understood as a way […] http://bethsholomsf.org/acharei-mot-kedoshim-leviticus-161-2027/ Continue Reading...

Tazria / Metzora – Leviticus 12:1-15:33

Thumbnail_CoverDesign_Tazria-Metzora Debate still abounds as to how best translate the key terms tumah and taharah — signatures of Leviticus (see, for example, Chapter 12). Purity and impurity? Ritual fitness or exclusion? Death and rebirth? I continue to return to the inspired translation of theologian Rachel Adler, who teaches that tumah and taharah are best rendered as […] http://bethsholomsf.org/tazria-metzora-leviticus-121-1533/ Continue Reading...