Parasha: Beshalakh

Crossing the Sea in Every Generation

This d’var Torah on parashat Beshalakh was delivered at the January 2019 board meeting of Reconstructing Judaism by by Seth Rosen, board chair. On the first night of Convention, Rabbi Sid Schwarz joked about how happy he was to be addressing the largest gathering of Reconstructionists since Mt. Sinai. As

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Jewish Continuity and the origins of “Ben Hur”

This week’s parasha — Beshalakh — is overloaded with material: the pursuit, the crossing of the Sea, the Song of the Sea , the Song of Miriam, the travels in the desert, and the battle with Amelek. It has two sets of bad role models at each end — in

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Evil and Compassion: Two Sides of One Staff

“Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and split it apart, that the Israelites may come into the midst of the sea on dry land” (Exodus 14:16). What is the nature of this staff? Is it a walking stick? Sign of God’s power? Or magical device?

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Wade In The Water

Vayomer YHVH el Moshe: “Ma titz’ak ei’lai? Da’ber el B’nai Yisrael v’yisa’u!” Then YHVH said to Moses: “Why are you crying out to me? Speak to the Children of Israel, and tell them to get moving!” (Exodus 14:15) The Children of Israel stand at the edge of the Sea. There

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The Singing of the Oppressed

This week’s parashah includes one of the most familiar images in the Torah, that of the crossing of the Sea of Reeds (or Red Sea, depending on one’s translation). Most years, this story falls on or near the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For the exodus from

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