Long ago, in the days when we were farmers and shepherds in the Land of Israel, the Torah taught us that when we harvested our crops, we were to put the first fruits of our harvest in a basket and bring it as an offering to God.
The poet Yehuda Amichai writes: I don’t want an invisible god... I want a god who is seen... , so I can lead him around and tell him what he doesn’t see… ... In this week’s portion, Ki Tisa, we reconnect with this unfinished storyline at the beginning of Exodus 32. While Moses tarries atop Mount Sinai, the people down below are losing their patience:
According to Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, or Nachmanides; 1194-1270), this week’s Torah portion, Vayak’heil, is properly understood as the necessary reconciliation between the Israelite people, on one side, and God and Moses, on the other, after the devastation of the Golden Calf episode. Ramban reads the opening phrase, “Moses then convoked the whole Israelite community (Ex. 35:1), as Moses rebuilding and healing the community through the inclusion and involvement of all ...
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