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 […]

Vayigash by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

  A smooth, gleaming-white Egyptian moon had risen over the Great Sphinx and the Pyramids. Joseph, Vice-Pharaoh, Agriculture Minister, and Royal Officer Plenipotentiary, sat in the office of his home: it was cool and dim in the shadow of the Great Pyramid

Vayishlach: Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, in the Afterlife by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Scene: The Afterlife, known as Sheol. Spirits flit about aimlessly: this is no Talmudic or Kabbalistic Heaven; that came later in Jewish History. We cannot see any of these spirits, but we can hear them.

Vayetzei: The Testimony of 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 tent! As you can see, I have daughters, a fine son-in-law, and grandchildren enough! Sit here, by the fire; it will stop your shivering—yes, our Aramean desert nights can get cold enough, I’ll tell you! Ha-ha! Here, Leah, my dear—fetch our guest a big bowl of that red-bean stew—that will warm your bones, I reckon!

Lech-Lecha: Avram’s Divine Madness By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

  I am Lote ben Haran. You may have heard of me—and, perhaps, not in a good way. Yes: that I fled Sodom and Gomorrah, lost my wife, and had an—unfortunate occurrence—with—um—family members. But that is not the way I would have chosen to be remembered throughout all time, in the Holy Books, in the Torah. No. Think of me, rather, as a founder—co-founder, at least—of Abraham’s Religion. Yes. That would be nice. Abie and I—we went through a lot, together.

Of Mice and Sukkot by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

(Scene: A temple courtyard. Sara, a fifth-grade Hebrew School teacher, is working with her students to decorate their congregation’s Sukkah. She directs them to string popcorn on nylon thread, cut paper chains from construction paper, and use this year’s Rosh Hashanah cards to tape in the sukkah. A bag of fall apples sprawls in a corner, and the children alternate between munching and hanging the fruits from the sukkah’s roof.)