Every Saturday, the Torah is read, and then it is interpreted by the rabbi. In the Torah portion, Yitro, the people receive the Torah from Mount Sinai. In this story, who do you suppose is the “Torah reader” and who is the “Torah interpreter”? Almost everyone responds that the Torah reader is God. And they would be wrong! More
A venerable rabbi was teaching a class. An elderly man whom he did not know sat in the back quietly. In the middle of his teaching, one of his students who had never spoken up before contradicted the rabbi’s teaching in front of everyone. The rabbi listened patiently and nodded his approval that perhaps this […]
This past week I read an article by one of my colleagues that Reform Judaism has no guiding principles nor ideology and that individual Jews also have no ideology. Additionally, he views most Reform Jews as non-observant and lacking Hebrew comprehension, as well as lacking an understanding of Jewish history and many of its rituals. […]
Our portion begins, “Vayikach Korach,” not to be read “Korach took”; rather, “Korach divided.” He divided the people. He did not bring them together. He saw only himself, and he saw only separation. His honorable claim that all are holy – the sense of togetherness and connection to God – was expressed in a violent […]
This Torah portion provides the instructions on five types of sacrifices to be offered in the Tabernacle for God. The Hebrew word korban, literally meaning “bring near”, is most often translated as a “sacrifice” or an “offering.” In English these are two different things. A “sacrifice” is something you give up for God or for some greater good. An “offering” is a contribution, a gift, a presentation made to God or another person. For the modern reader (you all qualify), bringing an “offering” would seem to be a more “whole-hearted” gift.