Tazria-Metzora by David Hartley Mark

Call me Veekoochee-el—that is a mouthful, for you Mortals, but it is just a whisper in Heaven, where I dwell. I am the Angel of Gossip, the one who gathers all manner of Slander, Loose Talk, Dust-of-Gossip, Vile Backbiting, and other Misuse of the Divine Power of Speech among you Humans—I pack it into my […]

Shemini by David Hartley Mark

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 in darkness, for I spent my days mourning for my boys, my sons, Nadav and Avihu, […]

Pesach—8th Day by David Hartley Mark

By this time, even the staunchest fan of Pesach finds that the matzah does not melt in his mouth, and the never-ending diet of soup-chicken-and-matzah-balls, once ethnically enticing, has grown cloying and stale. “Fear not,” whispers the yetzer ha-ra, the never-tiring Evil Inclination, “the end is near, and you will, once again, be able to […]

Pesach—1st Day by David Hartley Mark

Rather than the Torah reading, I will focus my drash/rabbinical commentary on Psalm 136, which is part of the Shabbat and holiday davening and the Haggadah as well, and features the refrain: Hodu la-do-noy—“Praise the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness endures forever.” One of its lines (136:16) thanks God “for leading His […]

Tsav by David Hartley Mark

The Rabbi’s Commentary this week is based on the story of the Sons of Eli the High Priest in the First Book of Samuel, Chap. 2 & 4, who corrupted the sacrificial system at the Holy Shrine at Shiloh, during the pre-Holy Temple Period (c. 1050 BCE). Scene: The Holy Shrine in the town of […]

Vayikra by David Hartley Mark

With Vayikra/Leviticus, we leave the drama of Moses’s interceding on behalf of God’s often stubborn and rebellious people, and move into what many scholars believe to be the Chumash/Pentateuch’s oldest book. It was originally known as Toraht Kohanim, or, the Priestly Laws, including the many and varied forms of sacrifices and offerings which the Israelites […]

Vayakhel-Pekuday by David Hartley Mark

The Tale of the Last of the High Priests: 70 CE I know the Tradition well, about how the great Roman General Vespasian came and laid siege to the Holy City of Jerusalem—when was it? In the year 66 Common Era, it was; I was a young man then; at least, younger than I am, […]

Ki Tisa by David Hartley Mark

Why did the Israelites build the Golden Calf? Barely three months had passed since God freed Israel from slavery, in the course of which they beheld the most extraordinary miracles and wonders: the Ten Plagues, the Splitting of the Reed Sea, and now the thunderous, magnificent descent of God onto Mt. Sinai, certainly not the […]

Tetzaveh by David Hartley Mark

The Testament of Elijah the Prophet On Behalf of the Almighty God of Israel Maker of Heaven & Earth Delivered to HaRav Chaim Dovid ben Yisrael Zelig v’Etel (Rabbi David Hartley Mark) At Midnight, 2/22/15 Which May or May Not Supersede Previous Instructions Regarding the Priestly Vestments As Listed in Exodus 28:31-42 You Alone, Reader, […]

Terumah: The Building Contractor’s Tale by David Hartley Mark

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work […]