Vayigash by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

  A smooth, gleaming-white Egyptian moon had risen over the Great Sphinx and the Pyramids. Joseph, Vice-Pharaoh, Agriculture Minister, and Royal Officer Plenipotentiary, sat in the office of his home: it was cool and dim in the shadow of the Great Pyramid

Miketz by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Midnight in Heliopolis, Egypt, during the reign of Seti I (1291-1278 BCE). The throne room of the Pharaoh, dark now, in the middle of the night. We see the Cup-Bearer, lately freed from prison, sprawled on the King’s royal throne, normally a capital offense, but His Majesty is safely in bed. The Cup-Bearer, Semnet, speaks:

Vayayshev by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Scene: Sheol, the Afterlife. A small metal table, such as one would find in an old-fashioned café in Paris, perhaps, or Greenwich Village. Two uncomfortable-looking but necessary metal chairs with curved metal backs, suitable for two ladies of fashion to sit and chat.

Vayishlach: Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, in the Afterlife by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Scene: The Afterlife, known as Sheol. Spirits flit about aimlessly: this is no Talmudic or Kabbalistic Heaven; that came later in Jewish History. We cannot see any of these spirits, but we can hear them.

Vayetzei: The Testimony of Laban, Jacob’s Father-in-Law by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

  Come in, come in, Stranger! Welcome to my humble tent. I am Laban, sheikh of this little tribe—look around my home tent! As you can see, I have daughters, a fine son-in-law, and grandchildren enough! Sit here, by the fire; it will stop your shivering—yes, our Aramean desert nights can get cold enough, I’ll tell you! Ha-ha! Here, Leah, my dear—fetch our guest a big bowl of that red-bean stew—that will warm your bones, I reckon!

Chayay Sarah: The Life of Keturah, Abraham’s Concubine by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

“Abraham took another wife [after Sarah’s death], whose name was Keturah. She bore him [six sons]. Abraham willed all that he owned to Isaac; but to [his] sons by concubines, Abraham gave gifts while he was still living, and he sent them away from his son Isaac eastward, to the Land of the East.” Gen. 25:1-6 (adapted)

Vayeira by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

My name is Metatron; perhaps you have heard of me, perhaps not. The mysteries of the Lord God’s heaven are not common knowledge. Know, Mortal Reader, that I am at once the most majestic and powerful of God’s angels; indeed, some Kabbalistic commentators place me secondary only to Him.

Lech-Lecha: Avram’s Divine Madness By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

  I am Lote ben Haran. You may have heard of me—and, perhaps, not in a good way. Yes: that I fled Sodom and Gomorrah, lost my wife, and had an—unfortunate occurrence—with—um—family members. But that is not the way I would have chosen to be remembered throughout all time, in the Holy Books, in the Torah. No. Think of me, rather, as a founder—co-founder, at least—of Abraham’s Religion. Yes. That would be nice. Abie and I—we went through a lot, together.

Noah By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

I was walking in a sunny vale, chasing after yellow-golden butterflies. My feet felt as light as when I was a little boy: the breeze ruffled my hair (I, poor doddering graybeard that I am, have little or no hair),, I heard birds singing sweetly. And there, not too far-off, was a little mountain stream—perhaps I could take off my broken sandals, and bathe my poor, aching feet in it. Ah, what bliss! I …

Of Mice and Sukkot by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

(Scene: A temple courtyard. Sara, a fifth-grade Hebrew School teacher, is working with her students to decorate their congregation’s Sukkah. She directs them to string popcorn on nylon thread, cut paper chains from construction paper, and use this year’s Rosh Hashanah cards to tape in the sukkah. A bag of fall apples sprawls in a corner, and the children alternate between munching and hanging the fruits from the sukkah’s roof.)