Shemini by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Shemini by Rabbi 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 Torah-Teaching; no; my name has been lost in darkness, for I spent my days mourning for […]

Pesach Day 8 by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Isaiah, Prophet of Peace Day 8 of Pesach by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   It was late, and I had yet to write an article about the Eighth Day of Pesach.The Torah portion was a pastiche of kosher laws, sacrificial directives, and a plea for tzedakah, charity—no unusual insights there. I had to teach in […]

Pesach by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Day 1 Pesach 5778: I, Joshua, Conqueror of Canaan by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   Scene: A rough-looking tent, much in need of a woman’s gentle touch—and some housekeeping. Scattered about are the accoutrements of a man of war: scuffed and bent short swords, a couple of battered shields of wood with a bronze circlet […]

Tzav by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Tzav: Many Jews, Many Seder Meals by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months….[Each] of the Israelites shall take a lamb to a family….Your lamb shall be without blemish…from the sheep [or] the goats….They […]

Vayikra by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

  Vayikra: The Old Priest and the Pesky Teenager by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   It had been a busy morning. Passover was coming, and folks throughout the village were worried and concerned about their ritual purity, what we call tahara. None but the pure could participate in the Passover Feast, a ritual we had […]

Vayakhel – Pekudei by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Vayakhel: Golden Calf, Golden Shrine   Scene: Sinai Desert, the morning after the orgy of the Golden Calf. The landscape looks desolate and destroyed: scorched earth, shell-holes from arrant lightning bolts sent by an angry LORD GOD, bits of blackened bushes and trees blowing around the landscape, like the macabre remains of a frat party. […]

Ki Tisa by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

KeeTeesa: Metatron, Prince of Angels   “Go now, lead the people where I told you. See, My angel shall go before you.” –God, speaking to Moses (Ex. 32:34)   Welcome, Stranger! I rejoice that your powers of creativity and imagination have enabled you to ascend and enter among us heavenly-folk. It is all very well […]

Tetzaveh by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Tetzaveh: Do Clothes Make the Man?   Scene: The Israelite Camp, in the Tent of Preparation, adjacent to the OhelMo’ed (Tent of Meeting-Sanctuary, the shrine of the Israelite tribes during their wilderness sojourn). Aaron, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) stands among his four sons—Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar—as they clothe him in his priestly garments. […]

Terumah by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Terumah: Sacrifice vs. Prayer   Scene: The Building of the Mishkan, the Holy Place where Aaron and his sons will conduct sacrificial offerings, in the sight of God and all Israel. Betzalel, the consummate architect, builder, craftsman, sculptor, and painter (among many other talents) is shouting orders at his men: “Watch that curtain—don’t tear it!” […]

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 […]