Who distinguishes between Israel and other nations? The enormous ethical mission that the Reform Movement has taken upon itself in the last generation is the spiritual and practical strengthening of the belief that all people are created in God's image. This week's double portion tells of a battle in which the Israelites viciously vanquished the forces of the Midianites. Does their behavior reflect the image of God? Does ours?
Dr. Ruhama Weiss, Ph.D.
D'Var Torah By: Dr. Ruhama Weiss, Ph.D.July 15, 2019
This is exciting. This is a moment of courage and birthing. The birth of feminism: many years before the word feminism was invented and the idea behind it articulated, as we read in Parashat Pinchas, "The daughters of Zelophehad…. came forward." The daughers of Zelophehad asked to inherit their father's land, as he passed away and had no sons.
D'Var Torah By: Dr. Ruhama Weiss, Ph.D.July 9, 2019
In Parashat Balak, King Balak and the people of Moab, central characters in the weekly Torah portion, are afraid of the Children of Israel. Balak tries to recruit the prophet Balaam to curse the Children of Israel in order to weaken them and save Moab from impending defeat. King Balak sends for his prophet twice and Balaam barely responds. Three times Balak attempts to force a curse on Israel out of Balaam's mouth and three times he fails. It is fascinating to try to understand what causes a king to attempt the same solution, and fail again and again, and despite this, to not change his strategy.
D'Var Torah By: Dr. Ruhama Weiss, Ph.D.July 2, 2019
Israel's declaration of independence states that the Land of Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish people. There is another point of view, expressed in this portion, Chukat, which indicates that the people's birthplace is in the wilderness.