Posts filed under: D’var Torah

Trafficked into Marriage

Today black women in the United States and perhaps some of our allies are wearing geles, traditional West African head wraps like those worn in Nigeria to call attention to the hundreds of our daughters, kidnapped and sold like the Israelite daughters at Shiloh more than three thousand years ago. Some folk still have not more »... Read More

Israelite & Jewish Identity in Black & White: Shabbat Vayigash

*Vayigash Mandela. Mandela stood. And now he is at rest. I dedicate this drash to the memory of Rolihlahla, Nelson, Mandela, Madiba. (Vayigash, “he stood,” is the first word of today’s Torah portion, Gen 44:18-47:27.) Ex 46:20 To Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath bat Potiphera, priest of On, gave birth more »... Read More

Moses & His Lady (Who Is Also His Lord)

Shabbat B’ha’alotkha 25 May 2013/16 Sivan 5773 בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ  בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ “When you set up (the stuff)…” There’s a lot of stuff in this parsha. The purpose of this setting up in 8:1 is to give light, so too I hope will this drash. Let’s shine the light on some of the stuff in the text. First more »... Read More

Great Balls of Fire: Parshat Yitro, Haftarah

Great Balls of Fire! There is a single piece of text that directly connects Jewish and Christian liturgy:  קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת מְלֹא כָל־הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ׃ Holy, holy, holy, is the Sovereign-Commander of angel-armies; the whole earth is full of God’s glory. Isaiah 6:3 is not only part of weekly Shabbat and Sunday liturgies in more »... Read More

Shabbat Va’era: (Re)Writing Torah and History

‏ ‏ וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי יְהוָה׃ וָאֵרָא אֶל־אַבְרָהָם אֶל־יִצְחָק וְאֶל־יַעֲקֹב בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי וּשְׁמִי יְהוָה לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם׃ God spoke to Moshe, and said to him: I am YHWH.  I was seen (va’era) by Avraham, by Yitzhak, and by Yaakov as God Shaddai, but by my name YHWH I was not known to them. Exodus 6:2 more »... Read More

Shabbat Shemoth

Exodus 1:1 These are the names (shemoth) of the sons of Yisra’el who came into Egypt with Ya‘akov… Baniym can of course mean “sons” or “children” and usually I err on the side of inclusion. But in this text, it is clear that only male progeny are indicated, demonstrated by the list of names that follow. more »... Read More

Sabbath of Just-Laws and My Two Cents

Shabbat Mishpatim & Shabbat Shekalim 5772 On this Shabbat that we examine toroth, laws, that we hope are rooted in mishpat, justice I offer my mechatzi shekalim, my half-shekel, my two cents on this double-shabbat. Imagine with me. We are our ancestors. We have been liberated from Egyptian slavery. There are Israelites and Nubians and more »... Read More

Torat Bilhah: The Torah of a Disposable Woman

[This D’var Torah led to a rich and ongoing discussion at the Dorshe Derekh Reconstructionist Minyan of the Germantown Jewish Centre in Philadelphia on the possibility of adding the names of the enslaved Mothers, Zilpah and Bilhah, to the liturgy. Some of that conversation can be found here. Ultimately it was decided that prayer leaders more »... Read More

Parshat Eqev – Neighbors and Strangers

Parshat Eqev 5771 Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 Ya‘aqov ben Yosef, (also known as James), the brother of Yeshua ben Miryam, (also known as Jesus), once asked a she’elah: Does the same spring pour forth bitter and sweet water? The answer to his she’elah in his writings is “no,” but that principle does not always hold true for more »... Read More

Shabbat Bechukotai (My Statutes)

Somehow I’m in Leviticus again. I didn’t do it on purpose. This time. I know I’ve drashed this parsha before, but according to my files it was in a year that B’har and B’chukotai were together and I scrolled to the B’har side of the Torah. Today we are plumb in B’chukotai which I would more »... Read More