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Tag Archives: Torah Byte

Noah — Genesis 6:9-11:32

“Who is like you Who could reach you Who has seen Who has been …When you ride a cherub And glide on the wind And wander through thunder And move within storms Making your way through the waters…“ The liturgical poet Yannai here imagines the divine as controlling the universe, “from the sky to the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/noah-genesis-69-1132-3/ Continue Reading...

Beraysheet — Genesis 1:1 – 6:8

“Living God and Master of the Universe on high and dwelling in eternity, His name holy and He is sublime and created His world out of three words: sefer, sfar, sippur – letter, limit, and tale.“ So begins the ancient treatise, Sefer Yetzirah, which focuses on sound and its magical capacity for “making” and “world […] http://bethsholomsf.org/beraysheet-genesis-11-68-2/ Continue Reading...

Sukkot, Day Three — Exodus 33:12 – 34:26

This Shabbat occurs during Sukkot, and we will be reading a special Sukkot selection from the Book of Exodus. The reading provides us with an opportunity to consider the role of strangers in our lives, especially during this time of heightened “othering” in the political and social arenas. Atop Mount Sinai, Moses is famously granted […] http://bethsholomsf.org/sukkot-day-three-exodus-3312-3426/ Continue Reading...

Ha’azinu — Deuteronomy 32:1 – 52

American economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006) once remarked that “universities exist to transmit knowledge and understanding of ideas and values to students, not to provide entertainment for spectators or employment for athletes.” Similarly, the task of Mosaic leadership is to transmit the knowledge and understanding of ideas and values for community-building. This being so, it’s worth […] http://bethsholomsf.org/haazinu-deuteronomy-321-52-2/ Continue Reading...

Nitzavim / VaYelekh
Deuteronomy 29:9 – 31:30

American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once duly remarked: “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” Life is a series of choices. And sometimes having to make choices may not serve us well, even if it appears that […] http://bethsholomsf.org/nitzavim-vayelekh-deuteronomy-299-3130/ Continue Reading...

Ki Tavo — Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8

How do you express your gratitude? With words? With a thank-you card? John F. Kennedy once suggested that “as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.“ A robust “attitude of gratitude” requires an act that acknowledges a benefactor’s benevolence and communicates one’s […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ki-tavo-deuteronomy-261-298-2/ Continue Reading...

Ki Tetzei — Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19

German Jewish thinker Hannah Arendt once remarked: “Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.“ How do we discern the difference between hypocrisy and evil? And then how do we confront evil in life? For modern people, […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ki-tetzei-deuteronomy-2110-2519-2/ Continue Reading...

Shoftim — Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9

“Justice, justice shall you pursue.” (Deuteronomy 16:20) What does it take to pursue justice in an unjust world? I think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who commented that “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of […] http://bethsholomsf.org/shoftim-deuteronomy-1618-219-2/ Continue Reading...

Re’eh — Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17

American naturalist-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once remarked, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.“ Emerson’s 1836 essay, Nature, expresses the belief that everything in our world – even a drop of dew – is a microcosm of the universe. This transcendentalist notion is not foreign to Judaism, especially its […] http://bethsholomsf.org/reeh-deuteronomy-1126-1617-2/ Continue Reading...

Ekev — Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25

William Shakespeare once wrote, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” If a beneficent Creator created the world, is it merely a question of thinking that accounts for why bad things happen to good people? We are disturbed by such moral calculus. This week’s reading of Parashat Ekev provides us […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ekev-deuteronomy-712-1125-2/ Continue Reading...