This week’s portion finds us at the foot of Mount Sinai, where God descends as a cloud upon the mountain and reveals his glory and law to Moses. It is not surprising, then, that this portion contains what might be the most sublime mystical lines in the entire Torah, “Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.”
A DARKNESS THAT CAN BE TOUCHED
In this week’s Torah Portion, Bo, we hear of the final two plagues brought against Pharaoh, plagues that lead in this portion to the first Passover and the beginning of the Exodus.
The ninth plague is darkness. After rivers of blood, locusts, hail, dead frog soup, and boils, darkness doesn’t seem all that bad. Yet it is the plague just before the death of the first born, and so was a plague that seen as the most severe possible other than massive death.
… Thus begins this week’s Torah portion, and begins the story that is at the heart of our people and our religion: the story of moving from slavery to freedom, from degradation to dignity, from exile to the promised land. While this is our story, it is also the archetypal story of all peoples struggling to be free from bondage.
It is a story that is deeply shared and deeply sacred in the African-American church community, a community that has been at the heart of the struggle for civil rights. While…
This week we start the book of Exodus, the world’s archetypal story for the journey from slavery to freedom. This new story begins with this line:
חָדָ֖שׁ עַל־מִצְרָ֑יִם אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֽאֹ־יָדַ֖ע אֶת־יוֹסֵֽף׃ וַיָּ קָם מֶֽלֶ
And a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.
So much is packed in that one short simple line: “And a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.”
Can we just share a moment together -WHAT A YEAR IT HAS BEEN!
Let’s just take a moment, take a breath and exhale and just lay down some of the burden of this past year.
What is the one weight you are carrying from this past year that you just need to lay down?
We have each been challenged in different ways, as each person and family is different in how this has hit them. But we have all shared in the sense of stress, of anxiety, of physical distance, of a social life in suspended animation. So much of this year has been about just moving forward…
Rabbi David Edleson November 13, 2020 Temple Sinai, S. Burlington, Vermont AL KOL EILEH – for all these… The rabbis often try to find ways to portray the matriarchs and patriarchs as model humans in model relationships. They are righteous, humble, pious, strong, clever, emotionally intelligent, and just. When it comes to Genesis, “the women […]
I want to tell you a story of two temples in two cities: one ancient Jerusalem, one right here in South Burlington.
The Talmud asks: Why was the Temple in Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans and the nation exiled? The Talmud answers because of fighting between us and because of too much self-righteousness…
TZEDAKAH AND JUSTICE
In a few minutes, we will recite the Yom Kippur Amidah. This Amidah, more than anything else in our tradition has been the focus of great attention, intention, musical and poetic effort. For many of us, it reaches its climax in the Unetaneh Tokef Prayer. Written in the midst of the Crusades in which Jewish villages were massacred, the words ‘who by fire and who by sword, were very real to them, as was ‘who by pestilence’. And now it is to us…
THE TESHUVAH OF BEAUTY
Tim and I, as many of you know, love opera. To be sure, we are low-key provincial opera queens, but it is one of our great loves. Yes, the stories are melodramatic, and somehow the woman always seems to die at the end, but as we know, life too often ends unfairly, unjustly, and goodness is often not rewarded…
Genesis 1 tells that God created us, all of us, all genders, all types in God’s image. And that is actually kind of trippy since we are also taught that God has no image. So what might it mean? With consciousness, with free will, with curiosity, with the ability to choose right from wrong. With the flame of God not on a mountaintop somewhere, but within each of us.