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...

We Will Outlive Them

Headshot of Rabbi Adam Greenwald
by Rabbi Adam Greenwald
posted on May 1, 2019
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
In 1939, a group of Hasidic Jews in Lublin, Poland were lined up against a barbed wire fence by SS soldiers. The sadistic commandant then ordered them to sing themselves to their own deaths. One of the men began to improvise a tune: “Mir veln zey iberlebn, iberlebn, iberlebn” – “We will outlive them” he sang over and over. Witness reports say that the song spread quickly through the group, who died dancing and singing those words. Read more...