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Tag Archives: Torah Byte

Pesach

“Roots, man — we’re talking about Jewish roots, you want to know more? Check on Elijah the prophet. … yeah — these are my roots, I suppose. Am I looking for them? … I ain’t looking for them in synagogues … I can tell you that much.” — Bob Dylan, 1983 Is the Messiah a […] http://bethsholomsf.org/pesach/ 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...

Tetzaveh — Exodus 27:20 – 30:10

Fashion designer Kenneth Cole once remarked, “You can change an outfit, you can outfit change, or both.” How fitting that clothes are what truly outfit spiritual change in this week’s reading! To outfit spiritual change, all priests or kohanim wear: (1) a full- length linen tunic [ketonet]; (2) linen breeches [michnasayim]; (3) a linen headdress, […] http://bethsholomsf.org/tetzaveh-exodus-2720-3010-3/ Continue Reading...

Terumah — Exodus 25:1 – 27:19

Master architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) once remarked that “God lies in the details.” His refined glass and steel structures defined mid-20th century architecture, and anyone looking carefully at his Seagram Building or the Barcelona Pavilion will notice the way his materials meet with their surroundings – the way form and function work […] http://bethsholomsf.org/terumah-exodus-251-2719-3/ Continue Reading...

Mishpatim — Exodus 21:1–24:18

Robert Cover (1943-1986), the renowned law professor and activist at Yale Law School, once remarked that every legal system or nomos had woven within its own narrative or story. Cover taught that everyone lives in at least one nomos, by which he means a normative universe. A normative universe is “a world of right and […] http://bethsholomsf.org/mishpatim-exodus-211-2418-3/ 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...