Vayikra by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

  Vayikra: The Old Priest and the Pesky Teenager by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   It had been a busy morning. Passover was coming, and folks throughout the village were worried and concerned about their ritual purity, what we call tahara. None but the pure could participate in the Passover Feast, a ritual we had […]

Vayakhel – Pekudei by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Vayakhel: Golden Calf, Golden Shrine   Scene: Sinai Desert, the morning after the orgy of the Golden Calf. The landscape looks desolate and destroyed: scorched earth, shell-holes from arrant lightning bolts sent by an angry LORD GOD, bits of blackened bushes and trees blowing around the landscape, like the macabre remains of a frat party. […]

Ki Tisa by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

KeeTeesa: Metatron, Prince of Angels   “Go now, lead the people where I told you. See, My angel shall go before you.” –God, speaking to Moses (Ex. 32:34)   Welcome, Stranger! I rejoice that your powers of creativity and imagination have enabled you to ascend and enter among us heavenly-folk. It is all very well […]

Tetzaveh by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Tetzaveh: Do Clothes Make the Man?   Scene: The Israelite Camp, in the Tent of Preparation, adjacent to the OhelMo’ed (Tent of Meeting-Sanctuary, the shrine of the Israelite tribes during their wilderness sojourn). Aaron, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) stands among his four sons—Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar—as they clothe him in his priestly garments. […]

Terumah by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Terumah: Sacrifice vs. Prayer   Scene: The Building of the Mishkan, the Holy Place where Aaron and his sons will conduct sacrificial offerings, in the sight of God and all Israel. Betzalel, the consummate architect, builder, craftsman, sculptor, and painter (among many other talents) is shouting orders at his men: “Watch that curtain—don’t tear it!” […]

Mishpatim by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Mishpatim: The Paving-Blocks of Heaven   “Then Moses and Aaron, Nadav and Avihu, and the seventy elders of Israel ascended; they saw the God of Israel. Under His feet there appeared the likeness of a pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity. Yet He did not raise His hand againt the leaders of […]

Yitro by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Yitro: The Passion of Zipporah Zipporah bat Yitro v’Athaliah speaks from the depths of her black-walled tent in the desert outside of her hometown of Midian: And are you gone away from me, my Moses, my Egyptian Prince, my stuttering lordling, father of my sons, Gershom (lit., “Stranger”) and Eliezer (lit., “God is my help”)? […]

Beshallach by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Parshat Beshallach: The Egyptian Version   Top Secret: Eyes Only, Joint Egyptian Chiefs of Staff Egyptian Weekly Army Report, Northern Sector Glorious Egyptian Empire Peacetime: Battles to Report—0 Minimal Military Losses, Thank Ra-in-His-Glory 8th Year of Reign of His Majesty, Sun-in-His-Splendor-Rising, Pharaoh Ramesses II Item: Supply-Sergeant Khufu requisitioned six bows-and-quivers for use by Platoon 6, […]

Bo by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Bo The First Passover   “Your lamb shall be without blemish….You shall watch over it until the fourteenth day of [the month of Nisan], and all the Congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take of the blood and smear it on the doorposts of their homes and upon the lintel as […]

Vaera by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

  A Word from Pharaoh RaMesses II, 1279-1212 BC   I am Ramesses II, mightiest of the pharaohs. My father Seti I raised Me to be both warrior and statesman—not to say lover; I had eight wives, if you please—and I believe I made him proud. From My youngest days I rode to war in […]