Re’eh – Two Young Sentries at War by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

“When you cross the Jordan River and settle in the Land into which the LORD your God is bequeathing to you, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, you [will] settle there in security.” –Deut. 12:10 (adapted)

Eikev: Datan and Aviram, Rebels Against God and Moses, Make Their Case from Hell by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Scene: Sheol, the Torah version of Hell. No demons or pitchforks; no lakes of fire or forgetfulness. Rather, the Spirits of the Dead flit about silently—unless they are asked to speak. Datan and Aviram, the enemies of Moses, come forward to give their testimony.

Behaalotecha by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Synopsis of Parsha: The Children of Israel grow tired of the manna, the heavenly bread which God sends daily, and implore Moses and God to send them meat. Once again, they invoke the memory of the fruits and vegetables which they ate a-plenty in Egypt—strange, because this is the Wilderness Generation, the Exodus Generation having died out, for the most part, following the Sin of the Golden Calf. Nevertheless, tribal memories persist, and stories exaggerate the truth. The people work themselves into an emotional state of grief and weeping, so great is their lust for meat.

Bamidbar by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Scene: Open Wilderness—nothing but sand, rocks, and thornbushes, a harsh, burning desert expanse. Vultures circle overhead. We behold a long, undulating line of people—men, women, children—old, young, middle-aged—gathered around a tall rock, from which a bony, aged, bearded elder, obviously the leader, barks orders. He is Moshe ben Amram, Leader and Rabbi of Israel. Because of his age, and the possible strain on his voice, his words are repeated on all four sides by Tribal Chieftains, who use arm-signals and ram’s-horns to try to organize the multitude into a semblance of marching order.

Yitro by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Come in, Stranger! Take a cup of barley beer from me, and sit here by the fire…

Beraysheet By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

  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 […]

I, Gershom ben Moses by David Hartley Mark

Vayeilech (וילך) Torah: Deut 31:1 – 31:30 Haftarah: Isaiah 55:6 – 56:8 Call me Gershom. Or not. You may have never heard of me, but I am the firstborn of the “First Prophet of Israel, Chief of the Prophets, both of those who preceded, and those who followed him, who spoke with the Lord God face-to-face,” as […]

Devarim: A Torah Teaching through Time By David Hartley Mark

Devarim (דברים) Torah: Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22 Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1 – 1:27   Moses: Reader of Torah! You invoke my name every Shabbat, but no one can ever know me, truly. Was I a Desert Shepherd, Egyptian prince, God-sent Savior from Slavery, Commander-in-Chief of an Israelite Army, the First and Wisest Rabbi, or Chief of the […]

Pinchas: The Testimony of Cozbi bat Zur, Midianite, Jew-by-Choice, Interrupted By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Pinchas (פינחס) Torah: Numbers 25:10 – 30:1 Haftarah: I Kings 18:46 – 19:21 Moses: My time is drawing near…I can no longer control these Israelites. They are not the Exodus Generation who knew me, the slaves I liberated when I was young and strong, and, with a twitch of my mighty shepherd’s staff, could conjure […]

Balak: The Donkey, and Other Players By David Hartley Mark

Balak ( בלק) Torah: Numbers 22:2 – 25:9 Haftarah: Micah 5:6 – 6:8 Balaam’s Donkey: It is odd that I am among the most famous creatures in the Bible—sad indeed, given all the unknown human innocents who die in this Holy Book, and in this Holy World which God created, and from which he seems […]