Tag Archives: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

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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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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Humor, Purim Edition

As I type this, I am sipping a screwdriver (or two). Not because COVID-19 is zooming around the world, the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, the (consequent) freefalling stock market, rising antisemitism throughout the world, nor even … Continue reading

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Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

This week: a rare peaceful interlude in the stories of biblical family life. [For tension and intrigue, see the accompanying haftarah, 1 Kings 1:1-31, in which David is dying and his throne, promised to Solomon, is usurped by another son, … Continue reading

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Mattot-Masei (Numbers 30:2- 36:13)

It’s August.  I am grouchy.  People in our increasingly mean and cruel government continue to get away with ignoring subpoenas and court orders and even their own rules, destroying the hopes of refugees, scarring children emotionally for life, breaking the … Continue reading

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Balak (Numbers 22:2 – 25:9)

What on earth? We’ve just read that the Israelites are finally across the Jordan from the Promised Land.  Now we get a story full of slapstick, including a talking donkey, with no Israelites taking an active part until the last … Continue reading

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Torah Portion Humor, sort of – Purim Edition

Purim: What it is and how to observe.  Read the Book of Esther; it’s not that long and reads like a novel, which it may well be. [Quick scorecard: Mordechai is the hero and the uncle of Esther, a nice … Continue reading

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B’Haalotekha (Numbers 8:1 – 12:16)

Whine. Kvetch. Whine, whine, whine. Kvetch. And this reading starts out so positively.  As if we’re having a lovely dream or a happily-ever-after story read to us as we drift off.  Then we wake up to a bleak reality.  The … Continue reading

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Acharei Mot–Kedoshim

This week: sex and holiness. But first, a note on Lag B’Omer, which occurs next Thursday.  “Lag” is 33 using the Hebrew alphabet: lamed=30 plus gimel=3.  Lag B’Omer is the 33rd day of “counting the omer” (a barley measure, now … Continue reading

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Ki Tissa (Ex. 30:11 – 34:35)

It’s March.  It still feels like February. I think I’m losing it.  A few days ago, during a brief discussion about how the chorus sometimes gets into a piece very quickly while it takes us a while to warm up … Continue reading

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