Torah Commentary

A Clearing in the Wilderness of Egypt: In Gratitude to American Prophet Toni Morrison

January 15, 2022Rabbi Hilly Haber
In her book, Beloved, Toni Morrison describes a scene of revelatory, communal worship. In a clearing in the forest, protected by the trees, the broken-bodied and brokenhearted gather each week to pray together. In this week's parashah, we watch as the Israelites leave Egypt and begin their long march to freedom. As they joyously cross through the parted shores of the sea, they sing and dance in praise of God.

How We Win Is Important

January 27, 2018Rabbi Sarah Bassin

We read about Amalek in Parashat B’shalach. As the first to attack the Israelites once we are freed from Egypt and wandering through the desert, Amalek gains some level of notoriety. In M’chilta D’Rabbi Yishmael, Rabbi Eliezer of Modi’in suggests this is due to the tactics Amalek used in the attack. “Amalek ‘sneaked’ under the edges of the cloud and snatched the souls of Israel and killed them,” (as the Torah hints later in Deuteronomy) — “When you were weary and worn out, [Amalek’s army] met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God” (M’chilta D’Rabbi Yishmael, Amalek, on Exodus 17:8).

B’shalach for Teens: Shabbat Sha-raps

February 11, 2017

In last week’s parasha, the Israelites were told they could leave Egypt, but now Pharaoh changes his mind! The Israelites still leave but with little time to prepare; an exciting exodus ensues. Then they're in the desert - listen to learn about that, too!