In Parashat Yitro, we are overwhelmed by the power of the encounter of God and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. The people respond to God's Presence saying, "All that the Eternal has spoken we will do!" (Exodus 19:8).
Parashat Ki Tisa recounts the incident of the Golden Calf in a multilayered narrative about faith and leadership. In Exodus, chapter 32, we read that Moses remained on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. In his absence, the Israelites demanded that Aaron fashion an idol so God would be present with them.
At the beginning of Parashat Vayak'heil Moses convokes the entire community and reiterates the commandment on Shabbat observance
At the beginning of Parashat Vayak'heil Moses convokes the entire community and reiterates the commandment on Shabbat observance.
On July 2, 2014, the prestigious science journal Nature retracted two heralded papers in the field of stem cell research, papers it had published only a few months earlier. The articles described a revolutionary process called STAP, where biologists subjected mature adult cells to physical stresses and transformed them into stem cells. Yet, in the editorial announcing the papers' retraction, Nature's editors reported that the "data that were an essential part of the authors' claims had been misrepresented" and that the authors' work was marred by "sloppiness" and "selection bias" ("Editorial: STAP retracted," Nature, vol. 511, no. 7507, July 2, 2014). All told, as the journalist Dana Goodyear has written, "a far-reaching and sensational conjecture" was "defeated by flaws that were at best irreparable and at worst unconscionable" ("The Stress Test," The New Yorker, February 29, 2016, pp. 46-57).
This year, I have the pleasure of studying the Book of Exodus together with the lay-led Hebrew Bible study group at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I serve as senior rabbi.
In Parashat Mishpatim , God continues to speak to the Israelite people, expanding on and extending the "general principles of the covenant" set forth in Parashat Yitro. In The Torah: A Women's Commentary, Elaine Goodfriend notes that this parashah presents a co