ON Scripture - The Torah

In celebrating the Jewish liturgical year and holiday cycle, we relive significant occasions in the tale of the Jewish people. The Hasidic masters emphasize that each festival highlights a particular spiritual quality, some essential element of life...
The Torah did everything possible, short of prohibiting the consumption of meat, to make it very difficult to eat meat and to distance ourselves from death
On March 31, 2014, along with dozens of my colleagues, I shaved my head. Bald. Not just short. Bald. To paraphrase the babies from “Free to Be You and Me,” “Bald as a ping-pong ball.”
What does it feel like to live at the edge, on the margins of community? The Torah reading for this week, Tazria, seems to imply that it can be a very lonely experience. When someone from the Israelite community is found to have leprosy (“tzaraat...
Is there one right way to mourn loss? Parashat Shemini records the death of Aaron’s two sons, and the varied reactions of his family.
The memory of the Holocaust today is vulnerable. Between the Diaspora and Israel the Jewish people are fighting about the meaning of the Holocaust, encoding in our ideological debates about who we want to be in the world our increasingly polarizing...
Opening the new biblical book Vayikra, Leviticus, likewise opens a new chapter in the lives of the Israelites. Their relationship with God would be expressed through the performance of set rituals in a physical structure
It’s not easy. Over the years, I have had quite a few students torn by this question. What should I do with my life? I love studying and teaching Torah, but I need to be more of an activist, to do more to save the world. Cultivating the spirit is...
As a spiritual person, I believe that the violence of our society, the ineffective and sometimes unjust policies of our justice system, the unbending attitude of the clerks, and my own resentfulness are all different manifestations of the same...
It seems every few weeks a new round of headlines cover the latest eruption within the American Jewish community over Israel, the most recent including a panel-turned-spectacle at the 92nd St Y and communal storms over policies delineating who...