Tag Archives: Pharaoh

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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Bo (Exodus 10:1 – 13:16)

Locusts. Palpable darkness. The first seder.  The slaying of the firstborn. Exodus. Laws. (That’s this week’s Torah portion. If you want, you can now skip to the jokes.) Of the last three plagues, the plague of locusts, which devour everything … 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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Vayigash (Genesis 44:18 – 47:27)

Why are we spending so much time on Joseph?  He’s not a patriarch.  He doesn’t emerge as the family’s leader; that’s Judah.  His sons do not become major players, nor do his descendants long term; they’re part of the 10 … Continue reading

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Miketz (Gen. 41:1-44:17), 6th day of Chanukah (Num. 7:42-47), Rosh Chodesh Tevet (Num. 28:9-15)

Three, count ‘em, THREE Torah readings this Shabbat!  Also Psalms 113-118, 104 and some changes/additions to the prayers. Why? Because the 6th day of Chanukah this year is both Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh Tevet (the first of two days marking … Continue reading

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Bo (Exodus 10:1 – 13:16)

Locusts, darkness, the slaying of the firstborn, the first Passover, THE Exodus, and then – tefillin? It is difficult for us city dwellers to appreciate the havoc a plague of locusts (yes, “plague” is the term for a group of … Continue reading

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Va’era (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

This week, representatives of a minority group officially confront the leader of the country, an arrogant, ignorant, stubborn man. He believes he is all-powerful, the but his own close advisors soon begin deserting him. I refer of course to the … Continue reading

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Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

I’m taking a week off from thinking.  So, these comments are from January 2013, except for additions in italics. A new year, a new book, and a familiar yet still-exciting story to curl up with on these cold, dark winter … Continue reading

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Vayigash (Genesis 44:18 – 47:27)

When I went to grad school, I was not prepared for how cold it would be.  I don’t mean the weather. Yes, this was Boston, but I had a heavy wool coat and, after some months of neglect, very long … Continue reading

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