Tag Archives: Aaron

Chukkat-Balak (Numbers 19:1 – 25:9)

A double portion. Chukkat: purity, death, water, 38 years in 87 verses. Balak: a worried king, a puffed-up sorcerer, a talking ass (literally), and a nasty ending. Comments are based on 2016-Chukkat and 2017-Balak. Chukkat starts with the laws of … Continue reading

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Korach (Numbers 16:1 – 18:32)

What happens when winning is the goal, and truth doesn’t matter? Demagogue: NOUN (Lexico.com) 1 A political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument. ‘a gifted demagogue … Continue reading

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B’Haalotekha (Numbers 8:1 – 12:16)

I really think the first part of this week’s reading is placed there as a delaying tactic, so we can put off reading how the Israelites behaved on the march. Anyhow- There are still some items to deal with before … Continue reading

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Acharei Mot – Kedoshim (Lev. 16:1 – 20:27)

(Comments from 2018, slightly edited. I found Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ comments, quoted at the end, particularly insightful.) This week: Sex and holiness. Acharei Mot (Lev. 16:1-18:30) is the first part of this double portion and means “after the death of,” … Continue reading

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Shemini (Lev. 9:1 – 11:47)

Ordination with a spectacular finish. Self-inflicted disaster. Kosher and unkosher animals. That’s this week’s Torah portion.  I’m currently zonked from Pesach and pandemic weirdness. But think how much worse it is for others and how still worse it could be. … Continue reading

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Beshalach (Ex. 13:17–17:16), Shabbat Shirah, Tu Bishvat

(2015) When we left the Israelites, they had escaped from Egypt and were digesting their first divine commandments.  Now Pharaoh decides to bring them back by force.  The Israelites find themselves trapped between the Egyptian chariots and the Sea of … Continue reading

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Va’era (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

Dam, tzifarde’ah, kinim, arov, dever, sh’chin, barad.  Blood, frogs, lice, flies/gnats/swarms of little flying things, cattle plague, boils, hail.  The first seven of the 10 plagues.  Why don’t I feel any excitement, any sense of  “Oh boy!” or any desire … Continue reading

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Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

A malevolent government that feels threatened by an ever-growing group of thriving immigrants. Defiant women who resist official cruelty.  A young man whose temper forces him to hide for decades.  And God, who catches the now old man’s attention as … Continue reading

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Chukkat (Numbers 19:1 – 22:1)

87 verses of water, purity, and death, ending on a decided upbeat. From 2013: At the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, the Israelites are about two years into their 40-year trek.  At the end of the portion, it’s 38 … Continue reading

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Korach (Numbers 16:1 – 18:32)

Happy Independence Day! Today, there was also a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in southern California, just in time for this week’s Torah portion, Korach, in which (spoiler alert) the earth opens up and swallows Korach and his co-conspirators.  The confluence of … Continue reading

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