Wagering on the Meaning of Meaning

Photograph of Tamar Marvin
by Tamar Marvin, PhD
posted on May 29, 2019
Behukkotai is known for its aspect of tokhehah, admonition. This parashah details the consequences of pursuing God’s laws (hukkot) and commandments (mitzvot), including the positive but dwelling upon the negative, in terms of sheer number and detail. The parashah begins, “If you walk in my laws (im behukkotai telekhu) and keep my commandments (et mitzvotai tishmeru),” and continues with promises such as, “I shall grant you rains at the correct times…I shall grant peace in your land…and turn towards Read more...

Shabbat Parshat Behar Behukkotai-5777

Photograph of Reb Mimi Feigelson
by Reb Mimi Feigelson
posted on June 7, 2018
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
My students rushed to write these words down as I uttered them, and I knew they had been touched with a moment that they will hold on to. For too many years and lifetimes we turn to our heritage, our tradition, our Teachers and Sages to supply us with Answers. Some Answers to ease a philosophical, spiritual or existential crises; some so that we know how to prepare our homes for Shabbat; some because we seek to belong, and perhaps looking back and being reminded where we come from may help us, even for a bit, to contextualize the present, suggesting a refuge. Read more...

A Sermon on the Mall

Headshot of Rabbi Edward Feinstein
by Rabbi Edward Feinstein
posted on May 11, 2014
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
"We don't know who discovered water," observed Albert Einstein, but we do know one thing: "It wasn't a fish!" A fish -- born into water, living, eating, breathing water -- is never sufficiently separated from water to become aware. As the unnoticed condition of its existence, no fish will ever know water. And what of us? What surrounds and contains us to which we are unaware? What is the ubiquitous medium of our existence? Read more...

'If You Sell...If You Buy...'

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on May 13, 2012
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
I don’t have a fully formed and set process for deciding what to write about when it is my week to contribute the drasha for the ZSRS site, but almost always one step is to go to the work of one of the great scholars of Bible and of parshanut, traditional commentary of the medieval and early modern periods. I am blessed to own a set of Nehama Leibowitz’s 'Studies in...' series (given to me by my grandmother many years ago), and for each weekly parashah, Leibowitz always finds at least three and as many as six or seven topics to explore in essays of about 5-7 pages each. Read more...