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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading Terumah March 4, 2017

A Garden Built by Humans   This week’s reading contains God’s instructions for the building of the mishkan, the traveling tabernacle (i.e., a big tent) in which the Israelites will offer sacrifices to God. Hardly a detail is left unmentioned. …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, Mishpatim, February 25, 2017

Is Abortion Legal?   This week’s reading contains numerous laws governing various aspects of daily life. At first, some of these might seem far removed from our own daily lives. You’re probably not going to sell your daughter into slavery …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, Yitro, February 18, 2017

Two Tablets   Ancient readers asked a question about the Ten Commandments, one that occurs to few people nowadays: Why did they need to be written on two stone tablets? One rectangular tablet certainly would have been sufficient—in fact, archaeologists …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading Beshallaḥ February 11, 2017

Two Great Songs   This week’s reading prominently features the Song of the Sea—the song that the Israelites sang after their miraculous crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). For this reason, this Shabbat is also known as Shabbat Shirah, …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, Bo’, February 4, 2017

With a Heavy Heart   Among the not-so-brilliant sermons I’ve heard over the years was one about this week’s Torah reading, Bo’. “The Almighty,” the rabbi began, “says to Moses, bo’ el par‘oh, ‘Come to Pharaoh.’ He doesn’t say ‘Go …

Read More »