Commanded and Connected

Headshot of Rabbi Adam Greenwald
by Rabbi Adam Greenwald
posted on March 20, 2019
“And God spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Command your brother and his sons regarding the Torah of the offerings.” (Leviticus 6:1-2) Mitzvah is one of the foundational words of Jewish life. Its root comes from the verb which is the name of this week’s parasha: Tzav, “command.” Despite its colloquial usage as “good deed,” mitzvah really means “commandment”—a holy edict, meant to give shape and substance to what it means to live as a member of the Jewish covenant.  Read more...

Artistic Knowledge

Photograph of Tamar Marvin
by Tamar Marvin, PhD
posted on February 20, 2019
Motl, the Cantor’s Son, was Sholem Aleichem’s last literary creation; the unfinished two-volume collection of stories about the character begins with his shtetl boyhood and tells the story of his coming to America. It is a symbolic journey depicting the changes experienced by a generation of Eastern European Jews, and by the author himself in later life. In order to represent the break with tradition that Motl encounters in New York City, Sholem Aleichem makes him an aspiring artist, a salient detail highlighted by Dan Miron, a preeminent scholar of modern Jewish literature. Read more...