Command the Children of Israel and they shall take to you pure olive oil, beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn tamid, constantly. [Shemot 27:20]
The placement of these verses is curious, as the more appropriate place would have been in last week’s parsha, together with the making of the menorah. The verse also stresses not just the lighting of the menorah, but the donating of the oil for that sake. In this way, it echoes last week’s parasha that opens with a command to donate various items to the making of the Tabernacle.
Every year, around Chanukah, Jews in synagogues worldwide read the heart-wrenching story of Joseph and his brothers. While not immediately apparent, the festival and the Torah readings that accompany it have much in common. Chanukah, although we may neglect to mention it to our children, is a holiday that commemorates a Jewish civil war. The stories of this season challenge us: How do we deal with conflict among ourselves? Where do we draw the boundaries around our communities, and how do we defend them?
Asher Lopatin succeeds Avi Weiss at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, seeking a middle ground.
He’s a Rhodes scholar with rabbinical degrees from Yeshiva University’s RIETS seminary and Rabbi Aaron Soloveitchik’s Brisker yeshiva who studied Medieval Arabic Thought at Oxford.
He was the shul rabbi for Chicago’s liberal Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and has signed letters in support of gay marriage, but is a member of Pastor John Hagee’s deeply conservative (and ultra-Zionist) Christians United for Israel.
A dozen middle-aged to elderly Israelis, some blind, some deaf, some both, baking bread. It is not the most promising theatrical concept, but it works. Rabbinical students from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Yeshivat Maharat attended a recent performance of Not By Bread Alone at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, staged by the Nalaga’at Theater, an Israeli company made up of the deaf-blind. It came towards the end of a week devoted to learning about disability.
If you needed any more evidence that the Jewish left is really advocating surrender to the Palestinians instead of peace with the Palestinians, check out the reaction of the Jewish left to the Palestinian claim that Rachel's Tomb and the Kotel (Western Wall) are really mosques.