Beshalach by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Beshalach: The Egyptian Version by Rabbi David Hartley Mark Despite a strong defence and adverse weather All arms combined magnificently together.  –Robert Graves, “The Persian Version of the Battle of Marathon, Greece” Scene: The Egyptian Bank of the Sea of Reeds, up near the Nile Delta. Off, we hear cries of triumph by Israelites, singing, […]

Bo by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Bo: Ramesses II Faces The Final Plagues Scene: The Royal Throne Room in the Palace of Pharaoh Ramesses II, Light of Ra, Counsellor to Osiris, Consort to Bastet, the Cat-Goddess, and Lord of the Two Lands (i.e., Upper and Lower Egypt).  The normally neat and well-appointed room is a mess: puddles of a red, blood-like […]

Vaera by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Vaera: God, Moses, and Aaron Confer by Rabbi David Hartley Mark Scene: The thorny Burning Bush, smoking and crackling. Moses, holding a runaway lamb, strains hard to listen to the Celestial Voice of God, while simultaneously keeping the sheep and goats away from the flames. (There are no camels—not yet domesticated at this time.) Moses: […]

Shemote by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Shemote: The Two Mothers of Moses by Rabbi David Hartley Mark Evening in the Royal Capital of Thebes, Reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II, 1279-1212. Two women are sitting and working in the Palace’s Royal Women’s Chambers.  One is PRINCESS BINT-ANATH, daughter of Ramesses’s second queen, Istnofret. She is calling out orders to a young scribe, […]

Vayechi by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Vayechi: What Became of Joseph’s Sons, Ephraim and Menashe? by Rabbi David Hartley Mark Scene: The Marketplace of Thebes, imperial capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom. It is as crowded as American malls were in their heyday: merchants all noisily calling out about their wares. The air is full of the smells of old […]

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. From the ceiling hung a brass oil-lamp, which swung gently in the evening breeze. […]

Queen Salome Alexandra, Heroine of Chanukah

Queen Salome Alexandra, Heroine of Chanukah  by Rabbi David Hartley Mark             I have often said that Judaism, like its two sister faiths, is a “Boys’ Club,” in which the Boys, or Men, get the best parts, and the women are relegated to baking challah, lighting holiday and Shabbat candles, and going to mikvah. I […]

Vayayshev by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Joseph and Others: Another Side of His Story by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   Joseph (Enters grandly, to the sound of trumpets; stands haughtily, as to the manner born): You will note, Readers, that I am wearing my royal robes as Regent, Vice-Pharaoh, Minister of Agriculture, and practically every other Egyptian Government office; that pharaoh, […]

This Thanksgiving, Thank God You’re American: The Tale of Asser Levy, New Amsterdam Jew, 1654

This Thanksgiving, Thank God You’re American: The Tale of Asser Levy, New Amsterdam Jew, 1654 by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   Sholom Aleichem, Stranger! My name is Asser, Asser Levy, of—so many places! First Spain, then Holland; Brazil after, and now, America. And you know, something about you made me take you for a Jew. […]

Vayetzei by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Vayaytsay: An Evening with 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! As you can see, I have two daughters, Leah and Rachel, a fine son-in-law, Jacob, and grandchildren enough. Sit here, by […]