The Monthly Portion

In the Jewish tradition, the summit of religious awareness is to know that God is ultimately unknowable.

Jan. 19 2017 12:01AM

Nishmat starts with the wide-open sky and the wings of eagles; it ends deep inside the recesses of the body, in our vital organs.

Dec. 28 2016 12:01AM

The story of Joseph sets up two archetypes: the righteous dreamer (Joseph) and the flawed but penitent sinner (his brother Judah). Both have a place in the tradition, but one is preferred.

Dec. 22 2016 12:01AM

Can you imagine the person who bathed you and put you to bed at night tying you up one day and holding a knife to your throat?

Nov. 17 2016 12:01AM

The ancient priesthood, the Pharisees, the kabbalists, the Ḥasidim—each of these and more have made a stand in the prayer book for what they think Judaism should be.

Oct. 20 2016 12:01AM

The point of the Torah’s rules on foreign brides and divorce.

Sept. 15 2016 12:01AM

A biblical story marks the moment when Judaism turned from charismatic authority to institutional authority, and from the rule of judgment to the rule of law.

July 28 2016 12:01AM

They looked inside themselves and saw only their own fear, not the confidence needed to make the land of Israel their own.

June 30 2016 12:01AM

Read enough of the Hebrew Bible and you could come to the conclusion that the two are intertwined, or even interdependent.

June 3 2016 12:01AM

He is dehumanized, his life circumscribed by the need to achieve perfect purity and be a vessel for the forgiveness of the people’s sins.

May 19 2016 12:01AM

Vayakhel records in painstaking detail the making of the tabernacle. It also makes clear one crucial truth: the central task of Jewish leadership is not atonement but teaching.

March 3 2016 12:01AM

He insists he’s not cut out for the job, and his reason has something to do with the way he speaks.

Jan. 7 2016 12:01AM

Moses acts, while Joseph sees himself as being acted upon.

Dec. 11 2015 12:01AM

How her fear and her mistreatment of Hagar the Egyptian helped forge the descendants of Abraham into a people, in a forge of 400 years.

Nov. 5 2015 12:01AM