Most people are familiar with the story of the Ten Commandments. The short version is that God called Moses to Mount Sinai where he gave him two tablets of stone that contained the Ten Commandments.
Young tenor, Mingjie Lei, a product of the prestigious Curtis Opera Theatre, displayed the voice and confidence of the up and coming Bel-Canto tenor that he is. His tones were bright, without an edge, sort of a soothing balm to the ears.
In the Torah portion for this week (Vayigash), Joseph, having grown in power and influence in Egypt after his brothers left him for dead in the desert many years before, now reveals his true identity to his assembled siblings.
While every year is filled with its triumphs and its terrors, 2014 has been a year that has felt particularly fraught. It is not because this is a year where evil and terror appeared from nowhere, surprising us in our general euphoria or mundane lives.
Rabbi Katy Allen teaches that Hanukkah is a time to rededicate ourselves to the holy and hard work of responding to climate change. She writes that we "increase our holiness by rededicating ourselves to reducing our carbon footprint."
And King Herod's appearance in Matthew 2 explains the context of Jesus's arrival on earth. But these and many other central facts about the Bible's narrative escape the modern Bible reader.
It is helpful to think about common misconceptions that people have about the Bible so that we can read it better.
We will need to demonstrate that there are viable nonviolent means of dealing with societal problems--ways that are not only effective, but in fact more effective than violence is at resolving conflict, and keeping us safe as a society.
On December 8, an Orlando-area police officer shot Cedric Bartee, an African-American man, while he was unarmed and allegedly standing with his hands in the air. The sheriff asked the public to trust that the justice system will discover the "truth."
Perhaps what makes Exodus an engaging film also makes it a dangerous one. The drama becomes secondary to the lesson. War prevails over wisdom. The sensational replaces the scholarly.
The landscape of this film is colossal! If you get a chance, watch this on the big screen.
We have no way to ascertain whether Moses personally suffered from trauma. He lived long before history was written down in Israel and the stories about him are shrouded in centuries of later tradition.
"Exodus: Movement of Jah people! Oh-oh-oh, yea-eah!" chants Bob Marley. In his rousing three-minute song "Exodus" he presents a more spiritual feel for Moses than Ridley Scott's 154-minute, whitewashed sword-and-sandals epic.
Reading Tamar's story in light of recent events in Ferguson and Staten Island, as thousands of people take to the streets to demand changes in our justice system, the Torah poses to us today this question: What happens when those in power fail to acknowledge their errors?
When God calls you to some holy task, you might expect a contemplative path, a quiet life of service and love of neighbor. You might expect a comfortable life of piety and hopefulness, grace and caring. But true prophets know better.
Vayishlach begins with our hero on the run. Recall that Jacob emerges from his mother Rebekah just moments after his twin brother Esau; in adulthood, with his mother's help, he tricks his blind father Isaac into giving him the blessing intended for the firstborn.