Bamidbar: Into the Wilderness

(Enter Moses into the Wilderness outside the Israelite camp, alone. He looks fatigued and worn-out; suddenly, his legs buckle, and he slumps to the ground. He looks up to the Heavens in an accusing manner.)             Dear God, can you not ease my burden of this People? It is not enough that they are always […]

Bechukotai: Planet Erewhon

“If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments… the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit. …If you do not obey Me… I will break your proud glory. I will make your skies like iron and your earth like copper. …Your land shall not yield its produce….” […]

Speak: A Poem for Parashah Emor

Speak of ritual and rules, of purity and piety. Speak of celebration, and time that drifts and flows in a spiral of light and dark and bounty and decay. Speak, in each season of coming and going and rising like smoke, like breath, effortless as thought, and rising, ever rising kadosh, kadosh, kadosh. Speak of […]

Kedoshim: Gleanings From Our Own Blessings

Though it may be hard to see at times, we all have abundant blessings, and even a surplus, if only we could notice it. By Judith Greenberg It’s easy to look up the street and see that the grass is a little greener at a neighbor’s. Maybe they have a new car or their kids […]

Acharei Mot: A Hot Mess? (video)

This Thanksgiving, Thank God You’re American: The Tale of Asser Levy, New Amsterdam Jew, 1654

This Thanksgiving, Thank God You’re American: The Tale of Asser Levy, New Amsterdam Jew, 1654 by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   Sholom Aleichem, Stranger! My name is Asser, Asser Levy, of—so many places! First Spain, then Holland; Brazil after, and now, America. And you know, something about you made me take you for a Jew. […]

Vayetzei by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Vayaytsay: An Evening with Laban, Jacob’s Father-in-Law by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   Come in, come in, Stranger! Welcome to my humble tent. I am Laban, sheikh of this little tribe—look around my home! As you can see, I have two daughters, Leah and Rachel, a fine son-in-law, Jacob, and grandchildren enough. Sit here, by […]

Toldot by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Toledote: At Home with Isaac and Rebecca: The Middle Years by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   (Night in the Desert. Isaac sits alone at a campfire. He drinks slowly from a cup of spiced wine, pokes at the embers of the dying fire, and soliloquizes.) Isaac: Father is dead; his chief steward, Eliezer, is also […]

Chayay Sarah by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Chayay Sarah: The Life of Keturah, Ibrahim’s Concubine by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   Ibrahim took a concubine [after Sarah’s death], whose name was Keturah. She bore him [six sons]. Ibrahim willed all that he owned to Isaac; but to [his] sons by concubines, Ibrahim gave gifts while he was still living, and he sent […]

Vayeira by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

King Abimelech, Sarah, and Abraham (Genesis 20) by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   Greetings, Stranger! You may approach my throne, and touch the tip of my scepter. Why? Why, to show that I am your liege lord and ruler, for as long as you visit my kingdom, that of Philistia, in this, my capital city […]