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.
All have heard, I am sure, of the Sacrifice of Isaac, how the Lord God demanded that Abraham take and sacrifice his son, his only son, whom he loved, that is, Isaac. Abraham was commanded to take his son—the younger, not the elder; Ishmael was, by this time, bending his bow in the wilderness of Paran, and seeking a bride from Egypt—and sacrifice him upon Mount Moriah, which may or may not have been the Temple Mount, in centuries to come.
The Testimony of Sarai bat Haran, Wife of Abram, Co-Founder of the People Israel By Rabbi David Hartley Mark
In the first place, Abram, my now-famous husband, never even thought to ask me if I was willing to set out on this massive journey from my home town, Ur of the Chaldees, the foremost City of our day—why, it was so big that people never called it Ur-Kasdim, they simply called it “The City,” that’s how well-known it was. Of course, back in our day, men ruled, no question; we women were expected to keep quiet, cook, clean, and have babies—though we did manage to have our own—well, I suppose you would call them spheres of influence; yes, that’s what we had, at least, among ourselves.
Following the devastations of the Flood, after the Mighty Vessel had come to rest on Mount Ararat, Captain Noah wished to learn if the flood-waters had receded, for God had become silent. He opened the Ark-window and sent forth a Raven, well-known as a Messenger between Heaven and Earth, though often a Portent of Warfare—for God had warred on Humanity for its alleged sins, and Humanity had lost, before the Power of God.
Bereshit (בראשית) Torah: Genesis 1:1 – 6:8 Haftarah Ashkenazim: Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10 Haftarah Sephardim: Isaiah 42:5 – 42:21 Scene: The Post-Edenic World. We see a humble Cabin built of clay and wattles, the dwelling-place of our First Parents, Adam and Eve. The door opens, and Eve enters, carrying the toddler Abel. She looks […]
Haazinu (האזינו) Torah: Deut 32:1 – 32:52 Haftarah: II Samuel 22:1 – 22:51 Hear me, O’ Cosmos, when I declaim, Let the Firmament absorb my words. May my thoughts descend like acid rain, Sizzling into the suffering earth, Soaked with generations of blood and strife Roiled with rivenings of man against man. The Name of my Lord […]
Nitzavim (פרשת נצבים) Torah: Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30:20 Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9 You stand this day, all of you, before the LORD your GOD—every man and woman of Israel…from the woodcutters to the water-drawers—to enter into the Covenant with the LORD your GOD…. And not with you alone do I enact this Covenant, […]
Kee Taytsay (כי־תצא) Torah: Deut 21:10 – 25:19 Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1 – 54:10 The Capture of the Beautiful Captive Woman, in Wartime (Deut. 21:10-14): The Master Sergeant’s War-Booty Bride When you take the field against your enemies [in war], and the LORD your GOD delivers them into your power and you take some of them captive, […]
Shoftim (שופטים) Torah: Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9 Haftarah: Isaiah 51:12 – 52:12 Shoftim: The Constable’s Tale, 622 BCE “You shall appoint judges and constables in all of the gates [of your settlements, in the Land] which the LORD your GOD is giving you, and they shall judge the people according to righteous judgment.” –Deut. 16:18 My […]
Re’eh (ראה) Torah: Deut 11:26 – 16:17 Maftir: Numbers 28:9-15 Haftarah: Isaiah 66:1 – 66:24 Special Maftir & Haftarah because Re’eh falls on Rosh Chodesh In Which I Imagine a Rewrite of the Blessing and Curse of This Parsha THE LORD GOD SPEAKS: As Humans, the only earthly creatures whom I, the Lord your God, have […]