January 24, 2021
Text - Beshalakh | בשלח, Exodus, Rabbi Jonathan's Teaching on the Torah Portion
Beshalakh is a momentous Torah portion. Pharaoh, his kingdom in ruins, has finally let the Children of Israel go.
January 18, 2021
Text - Bo | בא, Exodus, Rabbi Jonathan's Teaching on the Torah Portion
Our Torah tells an ageless and inspiring story. Every year when our cycle of readings brings us to the telling of the Exodus from slavery, I am stirred once again by the central message of our people’s journey: We affirm that there is a Power inherent in the fabric of the universe that insists that human beings be free from subjugation and tyranny ...
January 11, 2021
Text - Exodus, Rabbi Jonathan's Teaching on the Torah Portion, Va’eira | וארא
Moses, the reluctant prophet, has returned to his home in Egypt with a seemingly impossible mission.
January 4, 2021
Text - Exodus, Rabbi Jonathan's Teaching on the Torah Portion, Shemot
This week we begin the book of Exodus, a book that changed the world. With this story, the Torah introduces a new paradigm to human affairs.
December 28, 2020
Text - Genesis, Guest Sharing, Vay’khi | ויחי
The first thing I noticed at the opening of this parashah was the number 17. Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years, the same number of years that Joseph lived with him before he went missing. The intervening years were harsh for Jacob, yet these last 17 years made up for the years of grief ... Read more
December 28, 2020
Text - Genesis, Rabbi Jonathan's Teaching on the Torah Portion, Vay’khi | ויחי
In Jewish practice, when remembering a loved one, especially a parent, it is customary to honor their memory by teaching some Torah in their name. I wish to remember my father by sharing the story of the mysterious way our lives and family history intersected and merged with the Torah reading of that week.
December 22, 2020
Text - Genesis, Rabbi Jonathan's Weekly Message
When we study Torah, we inevitably reflect on the text through the lens of our own experience. The range of interpretations we discover is limited by the range of our own vision and sense of the possible. How exciting it can be when our minds expand and we recognize insights that were previously hidden from ... Read more
December 21, 2020
Text - Genesis, Rabbi Jonathan's Teaching on the Torah Portion, Vayigash | ויגש
This may be the most dramatic moment in the entire book of Genesis. During the long famine, 10 of Joseph’s brothers had come down to Egypt to seek provisions. Joseph, now vizier of Egypt and in charge of food distribution, recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.
December 14, 2020
Text - Genesis, Mikeitz | מקץ, Rabbi Jonathan's Teaching on the Torah Portion
We lost a sage of our era with Leonard Cohen’s passing. His absence prompted me, as it has so many others, to revisit his words and to absorb his unflinching wisdom. Leonard Cohen was a prophet of brokenness, a seeker of the light who did not ignore the inherent frailties and folly of the human condition.
December 7, 2020
Text - Genesis, Rabbi Jonathan's Teaching on the Torah Portion, Vayeishev | וישב
Joseph could be understandably bitter about the trajectory of his life: cast out of his family, repeatedly betrayed, imprisoned despite his innocence. He could easily view himself as a self-made man, surviving on his wits and with no allegiance other than to his own survival. But that is not the lesson Joseph has gleaned from the descents and ascents of his turbulent life. Instead, Joseph sees the “downs” as necessary precursors to the “ups.”