Devarim by Rabbi Patrick Beaulier

Why Jews Make Terrible Buddhists (Parshat Devarim)   When I first started writing dvrei Torah, I sympathized with Moses. It had to be a real pain to wander the desert for forty years with a bunch of whiney Jews that just want to go back into slavery. But now, I’m starting to wonder if Moses […]

Mattot-Massay by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Mattot-Massay: The Midianite War by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   “The LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, ‘Avenge the Israelite people on the Midianites; then you shall be gathered to your kin.’ “Moses spoke to the people, saying, ‘Let men be picked out from among you for a campaign, and let them fall upon Midian to […]

Pinchas by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Pinchas: Survival and Prophecy by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Attack and afflict the Midianites and smite them utterly—for they afflicted you by the trickery they practiced against you, because of the matter of Baal Peor, where the Israelites engaged in promiscuity with the Daughters of Midian, and because […]

Balak by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Balak: Peace Hopes, Priestly Zeal, and Homicide by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   “While Israel was camping at Shittim, the people profaned themselves…with the Moabite[?] women, who invited the people to the sacrifices for their god, Baal-Peor. The people partook of [the sacrifices] and worshiped that god. …Just then, an Israelite man came and brought […]

Chukat by Rabbi Patrick Beaulier

Parshah Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 Why do the same things keep happening to us over and over again? Why do we fall into the same relationships, same types of jobs, etc. etc. Sometimes life feels like a gigantic rerun that you can’t escape: a constant Bill Murray-style Groundhog Day. Just like all the other Torah portions […]

Korach by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Korach by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   I am Datan; perhaps you have heard of me. Yes, it’s true: my brother Aviram and I joined in Korach’s Rebellion. When the earth split open by the might of the LORD GOD and the command of Moses, we and the 250 Elders, poor fools!—fell down into Hell, […]

Shelach by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Shelach: The Spy and the Shepherdess by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Send men to scout the land of Canaan…send one man from each of their ancestral tribes, each one a prince among them.’…When Moses sent them to scout the land of Canaan, he said to them, ‘Go up […]

Behaalotecha by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Behaalotecha: Eldad and Medad (Num. 11:26-30) by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   Scene: Night in the wilderness. Far from the Israelite Encampment, two men in their late fifties, Eldad and Medad, sit by the remains of a campfire which flickers weakly, about to crumble into ashes and die. All the Israelites sleep the sleep of […]

Naso by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Naso: The Wife Suspected of Adultery by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   My name is Tahara bat Sheekorev’Tama, and I am eighteen years old. My husband—that is, the one who accuses me—is Choshesh ben Batuachoo’Mookah. He is a blacksmith, but he has little enough to do during our wilderness sojourn. Where and how can he […]

Bamidbar by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Bamidbar: Will There Ever Be Peace? by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   Scene: The Wilderness, with Israel on the move. The Israelites are marching in tribal order, with the Levites in their dynasties bearing the component parts of the Mishkan, the Desert Sanctuary. In the vanguard of the People Israel marches Joshua ben Nun, Moses’s […]