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.

Vayikra by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Call me the Tempter. Most Jews know me as the Yetzer Ha-Ra, the Evil Inclination. Who am I? I am the Voice of Evil whispering in your ear; I am the soft urge which bids you to look where you know you should not. I push you to steal, to lie, to gossip, backbite, change a number in an accounting book. I inspire bored people to commit adultery. I am, perhaps, the single cause of more evil in the world since Time began; I am a perpetual troubler. I am the hair in your soup, the driver who steals your parking spot, the false friend who proposes to the Girl of Your Dreams, a second before you get up your nerve.

Parsha Bo By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

In this Parsha/Torah Portion, God continues to mete out His wrath against Pharaoh and the Egyptian People for oppressing the Israelites.

Toldot by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Father is dead; his chief steward, Eliezer, is also dead. I am alone. Alone as a stone. Just me and this—this wineskin (drinks; the cattle low, moo, meh, and baa) Oh, silence, you—you—woolly fools! Fine company you are, for a master shepherd like me…. Where was I?

Chayay Sarah by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Scene: c. 1400 BCE, give or take a century. The interior of a stucco’d, mud-brick house in Kiryat-Arba, a suburb of the town of Hebron, a Hittite city. It is dusk; Rebecca, a young bride, daughter of Bethuel of Aram-Naharaim, the newlywed bride of Isaac ben Abraham v’Sarah—that is, the late Sarah, who is buried in the field of Ephron the Hittite, called Machpelah—is lighting an oil lamp.

Shemini by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Parsha Shemini (שמיני) – Shabbat Parah Torah: Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47 Maftir: Numbers 19:1-22 Haftarah: Ezekiel 36:16 – 36:38 I am Tsilya, daughter of Yitzhar, wife of Aaron, the High Priest, mother of my Lost Boys, Nadav and Avihu. You will not read my name in the Great Scroll of the Teaching; no; my name has been lost […]

Pinchas by David Hartley Mark

This parsha/Torah reading presents more evidence of Moses’s continuing decline as a leader, poor fellow, due to years of overwork, as well as old age. Here is the aftershock of a plague which God sent to punish the Israelite men for their succumbing to the temptations of Moabite and Midianite temptresses. Sadly, Moses is unable […]

King Saul and the Prophet Samuel: A Dramatic Reading for Shabbat Zachor by David Hartley Mark

Scene: After Saul’s Triumphant Battle against King Agag of Amalek. King Saul’s two sons, Ishboshet and Eshbaal are sitting on the ground, using flat-sided stones to buff and polish their swords. Their clothing is torn and bloodstained. The air is filled with the stench of burning houses, as well as barbecued meat. Ishboshet: I tell […]

Around the Shabbat Table on 02/21/14 – part 3

a short observance of Shabbat followed by an online discussion hosted by David. This week the topic is Sex and the Mitzvot

Vayakhel & Building Sacred Community by David Harltey Mark

I don’t bowl; I don’t go to sporting events, or even watch them on TV with a bunch of buddies, dipping Doritos into seven-layer dip while the Dolphins or Heat or Marlins touchdown or dunk or slam it out of the park. I don’t drink, so I don’t nip down to my friendly neighborhood tavern, […]