Tuesday, July 29, 2014 Av 2, 5774

BO, Exodus 10:1-13:16
By:
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
"Avoid clichés like the plague," notes New York Times columnist William Safire, illustrating the clichés he warns against, while also pointing to this week's Torah reading, which is, after all, about plagues. They are real plagues, though, not metaphoric ones; and that is what prompts Safire's caution. If anything we wish to avoid can be likened to a plague, we...
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Va'era, Exodus 6:2-9:35
By:
Rabbi Richard Hirsh
One complexity of Jewish tradition is the tendency of later generations to read early documents through interpretations offered by individuals of the intermediate generations. For example: The book of Exodus (24:10) states that Moses and Aaron saw God. For medieval commentators, the idea that a) God could have a tangible "body" and b) that human beings could apprehend it was...
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Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
By:
Rabbi Joyce Newmark
As we begin reading the book of Shemot, the Torah's narrative transitions from the story of a family -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- to the story of the Jewish people and two events that shaped our identity -- the exodus from Egypt and the giving of Torah at Mount Sinai. We begin with an account of the birth and...
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VAYEHI, Genesis 47:28-50:26
By:
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
On the face of it, Genesis ends happily: About to die, Jacob assures his own burial the way he wants it, back home in Israel, not Egypt. Then, he surrounds himself with his children, and each receives a final blessing. But below the surface, things are not so rosy. The funeral part works out fine, but not the rest. What...
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Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:17
By:
Rabbi Joyce Newmark
Pharaoh dreams of cows and grain, and in what seems like only minutes, Joseph is taken from his prison cell and elevated to the position of viceroy of Egypt, empowered to carry out the plan he had suggested to Pharaoh. And, as Joseph had said, after seven years of plenty, the famine comes -- not only to Egypt, but to...
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