December 17, 2018 |

Sefer Bereshit

A New Decade: Chazak Venitchazek

Next week we will read parshat Vayechi and conclude the book of Bereshit, Genesis. We will also say goodbye to the calendar year 2009 and user in a new year, a new decade. What does the Torah tell us about transitions of this kind? There is no book quite like the book of Bereshit, which takes...

Vayetze Baby Wars - G-dcast

Earlier this year, I recorded a G-dcast on Parshat Vayetze. What's a G-dcast? G-dcast: a weekly cartoon about the story Jews are reading in the Torah right now. A different writer tells the parsha in 4 minutes: some are stories, others are country songs or hip hop! Then we animate it. Whether...

In God’s History Lies Forgiveness

i Joseph’s brothers cast him down into a pit. From there he is stolen and sold into slavery in Egypt. In Egypt he is sentenced for a crime he does not commit. He lives in prison. Later, in a twist of fate, Joseph becomes ruler over all of Egypt. * As ruler over Egypt, Joseph sustains his...

Israel is Born in Egypt

i Jacob and his sons come down to Egypt. They are fleeing from famine. This flight begins the time of the Jewish people in that land. And the verse says, <em>And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen…and they took possession of it.</em> * Note how the verse says <em>they....

The Empathy of Israel

i Jacob wrestles an angel, at night, before meeting with his brother Esau. Jacob has not seen Esau for more than twenty years. Jacob fears that Esau may want to kill him. * The angel changes Jacob's name. The angel calls Jacob, <em> Yisrael</em>: Israel. For, the angel says to Jacob, of...

Children of Isaac

<p class="MsoNormal"> i <br /> Jacob and Esau are Isaac’s sons. <br /> <br /> Esau is a hunter. But Jacob is <em>a simple man, a dweller of tents</em>. <br /> <br /> Jacob’s offspring—and not Esau’s offspring—will carry the mantle of Isaac. <br /> <br /> *<br /> Once, Esau returns from the...

Sodom

God punishes the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah <em>because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous.</em> * Angels disguised as men come to Sodom. <em>The men of the city…both young and old, all the people from every quarter, </em>surround the house...

Welcoming Visitors in the Synagogue

This Sukkot, we had the honor of hosting a relative who happens to be an esteemed rabbi and scholar. On the first day he wanted to get to shul at the start of services, a goal that I strongly support but don’t often achieve. So I sent him off, with etrog and lulav in hand, and a plan to connect a...

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