What made Judah a leader?

This week’s Torah portion is Vayashev, Genesis 37:1-40:23. “And Judah said to his brothers: ‘What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let our hand not be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh.’” (Gen. 37:26-27) Why are Jews Yehudim?… Read More

A single cask, single malt evening

This week’s Torah portion is Vayera, Genesis 18:1 – 22:24. Such chutzpah Avraham had. When God invited him into the conversation about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, the patriarch could have demurred, seeing that he was standing in front of the Ultimate Power. If God thought it appropriate to destroy those sinful cities, who… Read More

Why Noah is a story for grownups

This week’s Torah portion is Noach, Genesis 6:9 – 11:32. This week we read of a flood that covered a mountain (Ararat) nearly 17,000 feet high and a little boat capable of holding (and saving) every species of land animal and bird. The flood story is a fable, pure and simple. If it hints at… Read More

Quieting the mind to open it to God

This week’s Torah reading is Bereshit, Genesis 1:1–6:8. “After eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Chava’s eyes are opened and they perceived that they were naked …” The birth of self-consciousness. “And Elohim called out to the man and said to him, ‘Ayeka,’ where are you? … and they… Read More

Why Sukkot is like the love that glows

This week’s Shabbat Torah reading for Chol Hamoed Sukkot is Exodus 33:12-34:26. On the Shabbat during Sukkot we read of Moshe’s second trip up Mount Sinai. When he returns, something startling happens: Moshe’s face radiates. As he speaks, the people are so afraid that that he is obliged to put on a veil. We tend… Read More