Re’eh – Two Young Sentries at War by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

“When you cross the Jordan River and settle in the Land into which the LORD your God is bequeathing to you, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, you [will] settle there in security.” –Deut. 12:10 (adapted)

Eikev: Datan and Aviram, Rebels Against God and Moses, Make Their Case from Hell by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Scene: Sheol, the Torah version of Hell. No demons or pitchforks; no lakes of fire or forgetfulness. Rather, the Spirits of the Dead flit about silently—unless they are asked to speak. Datan and Aviram, the enemies of Moses, come forward to give their testimony.

Vaetchanan: Moses Climbs Mt. Sinai By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Vaetchanan (ואתחנן) Torah: Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11 Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1 – 40:26 “The day you stood before the LORD your GOD at Mt. Horeb, He said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, that they may hear My words.’ …The mountain burned with flames to the skies, and was dark with storm clouds. The Lord […]

Devarim: Moses’s Worrisome Speech by Rabbi David Hartely Mark

Joshua, gray-haired and gray-bearded, a man in his sixties—veteran of many a military campaign as his people marched, complaining, through the trackless Wilderness—entered the black goatskin tent. The air was foul—as though it had not been ventilated sufficiently for a long time. While he unbuckled his sword-belt and carefully stood his battered shield against a tent-pole, he squinted around the interior—

Korach by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Korach—Rosh Chodesh Tammuz: New Adonai vs. Old Asherah | You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or an Asherah, a sacred pillar; for I am the LORD your God. –Lev. 26:1

Sh’lach – The Testimony of Caleb ben Yefunneh by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Welcome to the hospitality of my tent, Stranger! I am Brother Caleb, son of Yefunneh, by your leave! It is now twice-ten years since Rabbi Moses ben Amram sent us, twelve spies altogether, over Jordan River (River? Pah! It was but a rivulet, a trickle even, in spots, except during rainy season), and into the Promised Land.

Behaalotecha by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Synopsis of Parsha: The Children of Israel grow tired of the manna, the heavenly bread which God sends daily, and implore Moses and God to send them meat. Once again, they invoke the memory of the fruits and vegetables which they ate a-plenty in Egypt—strange, because this is the Wilderness Generation, the Exodus Generation having died out, for the most part, following the Sin of the Golden Calf. Nevertheless, tribal memories persist, and stories exaggerate the truth. The people work themselves into an emotional state of grief and weeping, so great is their lust for meat.

Naso By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

I, Scribe Kotev ben Chibur, do set down these proceedings of our Holy Family Court, exactly as I witnessed it on the Day of the Ordeal of Suspected Wife-Adultery. [I have not, I admit, been to many of these. Nor did I know the wife well; how could I, a priest devoted to service of G-d, spend time among strange women? I did, however, know the husband—an idle, drinking sot. He claimed to be a cobbler, but I admit that neither I nor any of my Levite friends ever saw him holding a sandal in his hand, unless it was his own.]

Bamidbar by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Scene: Open Wilderness—nothing but sand, rocks, and thornbushes, a harsh, burning desert expanse. Vultures circle overhead. We behold a long, undulating line of people—men, women, children—old, young, middle-aged—gathered around a tall rock, from which a bony, aged, bearded elder, obviously the leader, barks orders. He is Moshe ben Amram, Leader and Rabbi of Israel. Because of his age, and the possible strain on his voice, his words are repeated on all four sides by Tribal Chieftains, who use arm-signals and ram’s-horns to try to organize the multitude into a semblance of marching order.

Behar-Bechukotai by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

It is true that Your wisdom is infinite, and that our mortal wisdom is lacking and incomplete,
But I have studied Your Laws to the best of my ability
Limited though it may be
And I have some disagreements, if You will forgive me.