Category: Jewish World

Chukas – Choose Your Weapon

Approaching the land of Edom, Moshe Rabbeinu sends messengers to the region’s king, requesting passage through his land. Moshe reminds Esav’s descendant of how his ancestor’s brother’s descendants had sojourned in Mitzrayim for “many...

Korach – Democracy and Its Discontents

Few contrasts in the Torah are as stark as the one between Moshe Rabbeinu and Korach. The latter is propelled by jealousy, a blinding sense of self (and self-entitlement). And, like populists who followed,...

Shelach – The Import of an “It”

The Torah’s narratives are pertinent to every generation. But certain accounts resonate particularly blatantly in certain times. Like the saga of the ma’apilim, the “insisters,” those Jews in the desert who repented of having...

Bamidbar – High Security

The census of the Levi’im differs from that of the other shevatim, in that the latter counted only males 20 years of age or older while the former included even 30-day-old babies. The inclusion...

Metzora – Miserly Mindset

We instinctively think of nega’im as born of lashon hora, “evil speech,” and we’re not wrong. But there is another birther of the condition, one that is evident in the very word metzora: tzarus...

Shemini – Beware Phony Frumkeit

When describing the camel and pig, animals that lack either of the two signs required for their species to be considered consumable by Jews, the Torah’s wording is odd. Kosher species require cud-chewing and...

Masquerading As Feminism

On Purim, Jewish men, to varying degrees, imbibe strong drink, and Jewish women do their best to keep them safe and anchored in civilization.  The holiday thus may not seem very female-centered.  But it...

Tetzaveh – Divine Right vs. Divine Role

There’s really no such thing as a kohein. At least not the way we generally pronounce the word in conversation, with the accent placed on the first syllable. In the Torah, the stress is...

Terumah – Ulterior Merits

The aron habris, the ark of the covenant that held the luchos, the tablets of the law, consisted of three nested boxes, the middle one of wood, the outer and inner ones of zahav...

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