May 27, 2022 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -- Mas'ei

You sometimes hear about how vengeful and violent the God of the "Old Testament" is, usually from people examining our text from a non-Jewish perspective. Consider this passage from Parshah Mas'ei, with instructions on the coming claiming of the Promised Land: "You shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land; you shall destroy all their figured objects, you shall destroy all their molten images, and you shall demolish their cult places." (Num. 33:52) Is this a call to loot and pillage? Hardly. It is, in fact, a call to eradicate pagan practices and rituals rather than allow them to continue to exist side by side with the worship of God. It would be all too easy to let them go on, and in a generation or two see the merging or overlapping of idolatry with Torah. Rather than let the temptation exist, it is to be cut off from the start. Alas, even God's plans can fall short when in human hands, and such temptations (and practices) would arise in future generations. The standard, though, is set from the start. There will be no room for idolatry in the new Israelite nation.

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Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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G-dcast

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G-dcast is a weekly Torah cartoon. Each week, a different storyteller - some musical, some poetic, some just straight-up, tell the story of the current Torah portion...and then we animate it!

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Zev-Hayyim Feyer

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Jewish Renewal Rabbi. Smicha in 1977 from Rebbes Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, HJoseph Gelberman, and Shlomo Carlebach. Retired hospital chaplain, with specialties in mental health and AIDS/HIV chaplaincy.

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