Archives for February 2013

Torah Reflections – February 10 – 16, 2013

T’rumah

Exodus 25:1 – 27:19

Creating an Inner Sanctuary

This week’s Torah portion opens with the famous verse:

V’asu Li mik’dash, v’Shachan’ti b’tocham,” usually translated: “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” [Exod. 25:8]

Though from this verse forward the entire portion enunciates God’s directions to building a Tabernacle in the wilderness in tedious detail, we read the text not as an Ikea book of instructions for assembling an actual structure in the Sinai desert, but as a blueprint to create a mishkan, a sanctuary within. Our translation of this verse in Exodus varies, therefore, from the common understanding. We take it to mean: “Let them create an inner sacred space that I might dwell within them.” But how are we to create this inner sacred space? 

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Torah Reflections – February 3 – 9, 2013

Mishpatim

Exodus 21:1 – 24:18

You Shall Be Holy         

Both this past week and this week’s Torah portions speak of God’s desire for us to be holy. Last week, just before the Decalogue, God said:

“... all the earth is Mine, and you shall be to Me… a holy nation.” (Exod. 19:5-6) This week again God reiterates: “Be a Holy people to Me.” (Exod. 22:30)

This Divine injunction seems to be of overriding importance in our entering into this Covenant with God. Yet why is this so critical and, most significantly, is this a fair demand to place on inherently flawed human beings? [Read more…]

Torah Reflections – January 27 – February 2, 2013

Yitro

Exodus 18:1 – 20:23

The End of Belief        

We finally reached Mount Sinai, ten weeks after escaping Egypt. There, Moses told us we had three days to purify ourselves and wash our clothing in preparation for our meeting with God. And as morning dawned on the third day: 

There were was thunder and lightning, and a dense cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud blast of the horn… and [we] took [our] place at the foot of the mountain… Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke, for the Eternal had come down to it in fire… and all the mountain trembled exceedingly. [Exod. 19:16-18] 

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