Weekly Torah Reading, Tazria‘-Metzora‘, April 29, 2017

Why These Two Readings?   Last week’s reading, Shemini, began with the death of Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu. They obviously did something wrong in what was to be the inauguration of the tabernacle (mishkan). Whatever it was—bringing an …

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Weekly Torah Reading, Shemini, April 22, 2017

Our Religious Leaders   Why were Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, struck dead in the desert tabernacle (mishkan)? Everything was all set for the inauguration of regular sacrificial worship in the mishkan, and then this tragedy—why?   The Torah …

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Weekly Torah Reading for the Shabbat of Passover, April 15, 2017

A Stiff-Necked People   In this week’s reading (a special reading for the Shabbat that falls within the days of Passover), Moses refers to Israel as a “stiff-necked people” (Exod 34:9). I once heard a rabbi explain this expression by …

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Weekly Torah Reading, Shabbat ha-Gadol, April 8, 2017

Some Pointers for the Seder   Here are some of my annual tips for the first night of Passover:   Reclining   The whole reason for having a Passover seder is to carry out the Torah’s commandment, “And you shall …

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Weekly Torah Reading, Vayyikra, April 1, 2017

Can a Convert Keep His or Her Old Name?   Nowadays it is customary for someone who converts to Judaism to take on a new name—often Abraham for a man and Ruth for a woman, since both these biblical figures …

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Weekly Torah Reading, Vayyakhel-Pekudei, March 25, 2017

The Handoff     In addition to the regular weekly reading, this Shabbat includes a special reading, since it is Shabbat ha-Ḥodesh, the Shabbat that falls before or on the first day of the month of Nisan. This special reading …

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Weekly Torah Reading, Ki Tissa, March 18, 2017

The Tricks of Talking with God     The episode of the Golden Calf in this week’s reading is hard to justify. God had just finished telling the Israelites in the Ten Commandments not to make any statues or idols …

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Weekly Torah Reading, Shabbat Zakhor, March 11, 2017

Forget or Remember?   The Shabbat just preceding Purim is called “Shabbat Zakhor” because the Torah reading on that day ends with the commandment of Deut 25:17-19:   Remember (Zakhor) what Amalek did to you on your way out of …

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