What Did He Know, and When Did He Know It

Headshot of Rabbi Adam Greenwald
by Rabbi Adam Greenwald
posted on December 19, 2018
One of the great mysteries of Moses’ life is when he learns his own origin story. We, the readers, know that the infant Moses was saved by a collection of rebellious women – the midwives who deliver him and do not turn him over to the authorities, the mother and sister who hatch a desperate plot of place him in a basket on the Nile, the princess who takes a foundling child into the palace and raises him there as a son. However, the Torah is silent on when and how the young Moses discovers his slave origins. Read more...

Laws and What Lies Beneath Them

Rabbi Ephraim Pelcovits
by Rabbi Ephraim Pelcovits
posted on February 10, 2016
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Mishpatim, marks a shift from readings characterized by rich and compelling stories, to a section entirely composed of concrete rules and regulations. Among the fifty plus laws we shall read this week, is a deceptively simple commandment that insists, “When you see the donkey of someone you hate crouching under its burden, would you refrain from helping him? – You will surely help him,” (Exodus 23:15). Read more...

Distractions from Work

Headshot of Elliot Dorff
by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD
posted on December 25, 2015
But the King of Egypt said to them: "Moses and Aaron, why do you distract the people from their tasks? Get to your labors!" (Exodus 5:4) Moses and Aaron asked Pharoah to let the Israelites go a distance of three days into the wilderness to worship God, and Pharoah would hear none of it. He may have been worried that they would not come back, and he would thus lose many slaves. The concern he voices here, though, is that the work would not be done. Read more...

On Shepherds and Seeing

Headshot of Rabbi Adam Greenwald
by Rabbi Adam Greenwald
posted on June 26, 2013
Torah Reading
Five summers ago, I had the privilege of spending ten days living with a Navajo shepherd family. On Earl and Sadie's ranch, high in the Chuska mountains and far from electricity or running water, I got a glimpse at a lifestyle that seemed to belong to another age. Earl spent his days tending to the sheep and nights were spent around a blazing fire, which was the only light in the otherwise velvet black night. Read more...

Reminders on the Crooked Path to Freedom

by Rabbi Aaron Alexander
posted on January 1, 2013
Torah Reading
As I read through the beginning of the Book of Exodus (Shemot) I cannot help but be reminded of lessons that continually nag at my heart and soul. I'd like to share just a few of them with you. 1) This week we actively recall and celebrate the courageous actions of Shifra and Pu'ah, the Hebrew midwives who defied the King of Egypt, choosing life above death, thoughtful disobedience over blind submission, and fidelity to Godliness over human delusions of wielding God-like power. May their bravery live eternally (and instantly!) in our mandate to demand nothing less from ourselves. Read more...