Favor Elevates Its Giver

Parashat VaYishlach, Gen 32:4–36:43 When someone asks us, “Will you do me a favor?” we’re likely to ask what they have in mind before we say yes or no. Why? Because a favor by definition is something undeserved, something that might go beyond the ordinary, and we want to know what it is before we… Continue reading Favor Elevates Its Giver

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Lekh L’kha—The Essential Journey

Parashat Lekh L’kha, Genesis 12:1–17:27 Abraham’s lifelong conversation with Hashem begins with a simple two-word phrase: “Lekh l’kha—get going!” (Gen 12:1). Before the Lord reveals anything about his character, purpose, and plans to Avraham, he sends him on a journey. My translation of Lekh l’kha here might differ from the one in your Bible. It’s… Continue reading Lekh L’kha—The Essential Journey

The All-Israel Alignment

Sixth Haftarah of Comfort, Isaiah 60:1-22 All Israel will be saved. Romans 11:26 Isaiah has provided many images and metaphors of Israel’s restoration throughout the Haftarot of Comfort—return from exile, flowering of the Land of Israel, rebuilding of her cities, tribute and honor coming from the surrounding nations. Now, toward the end of these readings,… Continue reading The All-Israel Alignment

UNESCO, Hebron, and Netanyahu’s Kippah

At his Sunday morning cabinet meeting this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu donned a kippah to read from the Torah. Two days earlier the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, “acting on a request from the Palestinians, declared Hebron’s Old City to be a heritage site in danger” (https://www.jta.org/2017/07/09/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/netanyahu-reads-ftom-genesis-to-illustrate-jewish-peoples-israels-claim-to-cave-of-patriarchs). In response to the resolution, Netanyahu read… Continue reading UNESCO, Hebron, and Netanyahu’s Kippah

Learning Grace & Truth . . . Together

Parashat Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11-34:35 Moses is the great hero of the Exodus, the deliverer of the Jewish people. He’s also Moshe Rabbenu, Moses our teacher, the one who received the words of Torah and taught them to us. Like every great teacher, Moshe Rabbenu teaches not just by word, but also by example. In… Continue reading Learning Grace & Truth . . . Together

Wrestling for Identity

 And Jacob was left alone. Genesis 32:25 This is only the second time we’ve seen Jacob really alone. The first time was when he camped at “a certain place” on the way out of the promised land, running from Esau. Now 20+ years later, he’s returning to the promised land, and about to meet up… Continue reading Wrestling for Identity