Parsha Pekuday: By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Parsha Pekuday Torah: Exodus 38:21 – 40:38 Haftarah: I Kings 7:51 – 8:21 (Ashk) I Kings 7:40 – 7:50 (Sphd) It is lonesome and harsh in the Wilderness, when the khamseen, the hot desert wind, blows; I know this. In 1972, when Israel still held firm control of Sinai, a group of us students from […]

Vayakhel: Building a Sacred Community by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Vayakhel (Shabbat Shekalim) Torah: Exodus 35:1 – 38:20 Haftarah:  II Kings 12:1 – 12:17 How do people bond? I can only look at this from a male point of view. I googled Male Bonding Activities on the Web—you can find everything on the Web—and came up with this site. Men like to fix things, play […]

The Salad Days of Moses: Parsha Shemote

​I like Moses a lot. I commiserate with him: how can one be “the humblest of men” but at the same time, lead a people so fractious, argumentative, and independent-minded as us Jews? And yet, that was his life’s mission: self-destructively workaholic, misogynistic more than often, and not much of a father (his two sons are mere names, […]

Chayay Sarah with Apologies to Victorian Poet Robert Browning

Scene: A desert caravan, led by Eliezer, Avraham’s Chief Manservant. He addresses a fellow-traveler whom they met on the way. [With apologies to Victorian poet Robert Browning (1812-1889), “Fra Lippo Lippi” (1853)] I’m Avram’s servant, ‘Layzer, by your leave! You may not recognize my bearded face— But I am he whom Avram of Charan Sent […]

Avraham, Our Father: An Imagined Midrash-Soliloquy (Parsha Vayeira)

A day like all other days, here in this godforsaken desert! Or should I not say that, myself being the chosen one of the Invisible God, Maker of heaven and earth—or so He says, so He tells me. Imagine—commanding me, an old man, to perform that—that—covenantal-cutting on myself, and with a flint knife! How it […]