Tag Archives: Rashi

Shoftim (Deut. 16:18 – 21:9)

As I consider this week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, I am getting really irritable. Shoftim is about justice, compassion, and building a caring society, as promoted and enforced by a framework of law.  In our country today, we have a so-called … Continue reading

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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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Shelach (Numbers 13:1 – 15:41)

How about a nice, uplifting Torah reading? Sorry, not this week. By the end of our previous Torah portion, everyone had become seriously cranky: Israelites, Moses, Aaron, Miriam, the Lord.  While everyone is now behaving, the underlying issues haven’t been … 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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Noah (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

It’s a good thing we finally got the sukkah down (mostly – just the frame and tied-on bamboos poles left).  There was a big storm around here yesterday (October 31), though the most dramatic portions came well after the trick-or-treaters … Continue reading

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Shelach (Numbers 13:1 – 15:41)

Very tall Canaanites + very low self-esteem = Disaster (I have cobbled together comments I like from 2013-2016) This portion begins ambiguously.  The Lord says, “Send for yourself men to scout…”  Rashi interprets “for yourself” as a disclaimer (Hey, I’m … Continue reading

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Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11 – 34:35)

A poll tax, sacred incense and oil, a calf made of gold, smashed tablets, punishment, new tablets, Moses and the Lord, and starting afresh.  That’s an outline of this week’s Torah portion.  A few more details: The half-shekel head tax … 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)

Sources: 2016, 2013, 2012 comments on Va’era. This week, we more or less start over.  Va’era makes last week’s story of the first encounters of Moses and Aaron with the Hebrews and Pharaoh seem like a TV pilot.  The basic elements were … Continue reading

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