God's self-revelation and the giving of the Torah at Sinai was followed by the sin of the Golden Calf, and then the command to build the Tabernacle and thus establish a dwelling place for God amidst the physical world.
It is a year of complete freedom for the land and humanity alike, a do-over year, a time to begin all over again. In this context of new beginnings, the choice of Yom Kippur as the day on which to proclaim the Jubilee year does make some spiritual sense.
My wife's grandmother is 94 years old. She lives alone in the same house she has lived in for decades. She is remarkably healthy, but is at an age when many people would have already moved into a retirement community or an assisted living facility. But she has no interest in moving.
We are on a multi-layered journey. On the Jewish holiday calendar, after leaving Egypt two weeks ago with all the attendant fear and drama of Passover we are moving steadily toward the holiday of Shavuot--on which we celebrate the revelation of the Torah--and thus toward Mt. Sinai.
Just a couple of weeks ago, many people were tossed unexpectedly into a spiral of shock and loss. People all over the world found themselves grieving at the same moment as news broke that Prince Rogers Nelson was dead on April 21, 2016.
Parshat Acharei Mot closes with a long list of the sexual partners forbidden to men, continuing the apparent male-centric nature of the text. On its most obvious level, the women in this parashah are there mainly as passive objects, or are simply absent.
In the end, the story does more than show us how powerful societies -- whether ancient or modern - try to keep a grip on their dominance. While Acts 16 describes a steady stream of self-preservation that issues from the villains in Philippi, the story's main point is to celebrate a divine victory.
John 5 tells the story of Jesus encountering many sick people, who were lying by the pool of Bethesda in hopes of getting healed. The pool, that was opposite Fortress Antonia, had a reputation for healing the sick.
Little did I know that all my years of running had afforded me a strong immune system that conditioned me to physically and mentally survive my overwhelming life-threatening obstacle. My medical challenge was an endurance run of a different kind.
On the second day of Passover, Jews begin a period called sefirat ha-omer, when we publicly count off each day for the next 50, concluding with the holiday of Shavuot. (Hence the Greek term Pentecost, for the 50th day.)
Today, I shared the Chibok girl's with my little girl. I will preach again on violence towards women and girls because I must not be quiet. Through my tears, I read this article to my husband and am surprised by his emotion.
I am an unabashed lover of Leviticus. And not just the "Be holy," "Love your neighbor as yourself" second half of Leviticus, but especially the "slaughter the cow...sprinkle its blood" first half. "Be holy" sounds great, but what does it actually mean?
The Torah's narrative is filled with questions, struggles, and lived reality related to maternity. Most of our biblical foremothers struggled with infertility. Great detail and attention is given to empowering women as mothers while recognizing the pain of those who are unable to give birth.
We must draw boundaries around our lives, taking care of our own bodies and needs even as we attend to others. We must dwell in the eye-popping paradox that we are both totally one with God and individual human beings who are blazing with love.