Parsha Notes

Between God and Torah: Judaism’s Gambles

Between God and Torah: Judaism’s Gambles

Parashat Toldot by R. Shai Held For many of us in the Eshel world, remaining connected to a Torah that seems to erase, banish or incriminate our ordinary human desire for intimacy and companionship is an enormous challenge.  In my own life and in the stories that many have shared with me I have discovered [more]
Stranger, Resident, and the Meaning of Belonging

Stranger, Resident, and the Meaning of Belonging

Parashat Chayei Sarah By Maharat Ruth Friedman In this week’s parsha, Avraham, who has spent much of the time we have known him wandering, wishes to establish roots in Hevron. The death of Sarah creates a need for him to pay honor to her, and so after his initial mourning, Avraham approaches the children of [more]
The Wisdoms of Welcome

The Wisdoms of Welcome

Parashat VaYeira By Rabbi Steve Greenberg Three tired and hungry travelers are accosted by an old man. He is running, actually limping toward them. He beseeches them to come back with him and to take some nourishment, some food and drink, to rest their feet for a bit in his home. He prepares for them [more]
Abraham’s Calling: The Journey to Authenticity

Abraham’s Calling: The Journey to Authenticity

Parashat Lech Lecha By R. Sunnie Epstein, Director Welcoming Shuls Project, Eshel Our Parsha begins as G-d instructs Avram to leave all that he knows from the past – his land, his birthplace, and his father’s house.   He is called to completely cut himself off from all that has occurred in his life up [more]
A Fur Coat or a Bonfire

A Fur Coat or a Bonfire

Parashat Noach By Rabbi Steve Greenberg Noah and Abraham are both paragons of righteousness.  While both characters are deemed virtuous, it is not the similarity of these two moral giants that is highlighted by the biblical text and its interpreters, but their difference.   Noah's righteousness is seen as relative and limited, while Abraham's is essential [more]
Creation and the Problem of Twos

Creation and the Problem of Twos

Parashat Bereishit Rabbi Steve Greenberg   The starting point of the Genesis story is God.  Before creation, God fills existence.   There is no-thing else, no place for an-other.    God’s oneness is without division or separation.  One is always all-powerful without needing any power-over to be so.   One is stable and sure, unchanging and whole.   One [more]