Have You Seen My Alps?

Headshot of Rabbi Adam Greenwald
by Rabbi Adam Greenwald
posted on June 11, 2019
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
A story is told of Rabbi Sampson Raphael Hirsch (Germany, 1808-1888), the intellectual giant behind the founding of contemporary Orthodox Judaism: It is said that late in his life, the old rabbi surprised his students by scheduling himself a long trip to Switzerland. When they inquired about why he insisted on making such a journey, he replied:  “Soon, I will stand before the Almighty. I will be held answerable to many questions. But, what will I say when I am asked, ‘Shimson, my son, it is true you did many mitzvot, but did you also remember to see My Alps?” Read more...

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...

Does Law Equal Justice?

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on May 15, 2019
Our parashah this week ends in an odd way, a way that it is odd both for the book of Leviticus, and for Torah more generally. Leviticus is largely a book of laws – laws related to the Tabernacle and the priesthood (hence the English name of the book that invokes the tribe of Levi), laws of incest and sexual prohibitions, laws of ritual impurity, and so on. It contains very few narratives, yet it presents one here. Read more...