Currently Browsing: Shabbat Themes

Shabbat Bereshit (Gen. 1:1-6:8)

Looking at it one way, Bereshit is a series of failures. After the high point of creation, it’s all downhill – from the fateful fruit of the tree to Cain’s aggression against Abel, humans really don’t have a particularly good time of it. Even the points in the narrative that aren’t downright bad, most have an element failure to them. making clothes from leaves? Not such a great plan. God asks where the... read more

Shabbat Tetsaveh (Ex. 27:20-30:10)

Last week, we read about how the Israelites “clothed” the Mishkan, the Tent of Meeting. In fact, if you look at it you can see that they actually built a person and then clothed it – the Ark of the Covenant as the heart (with the Divine spark of life – the Tablets of Law – inside), the sacrificial altar as the head, the framing as a skeleton and the skins and fabrics... read more

Shabbat Terumah (Exodus 25:1 – 27:19)

Moses is up on the mountain, and we begin to hear about building the Tent of Meeting. People are (or will be) asked to bring gifts – whatever their heart moves them to bring. These gifts engage the senses – they have specific textures, colors and aromas. While the instructions make sense in their literal interpretation, they are also a fantastic metaphor for people bringing whatever gifts and... read more

Shabbat Mishpatim (Ex. 21:1-24:18)

Mishpatim, or “judgements” takes the 10 commandments from last week and begins to elaborate on them. Detailed rules are given concerning slaves, crimes punishable by death, how to deal with the behavior of your ox, theft and lending, how to handle first fruits and firstborn animals, the sabbatical and jubilee years, the festivals of gathering and on giving just punishments that do not exceed... read more

Shabbat Yitro (Ex. 18:1-20:23)

Looking at it with a storyteller’s perspective, last week we saw a slave population freed but disorganized. Without God’s direct intervention the words of Pharaoh (“the wilderness will swallow them up”) would surely come true. This week we see the beginnings of an organization, both “in the trenches” in the form of a system of courts and authority and “from on... read more

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