Parsha Behaalotecha: Rush and Return

This week we read parsha Behaalotecha (Beha'alotecha, Beha'alothekha, or Behaaloscha) which means "when you raise up."  Behaalotecha consists of  Numbers 8:1–12:16.  You can find a brief summary here. Below I have featured an article I received from Chabad which relates the beginning parsha insights far better than I could: Rush and Return The Anatomy of a Flame Though it occupies only three … [Read more...]

Parsha Bechukotai: God is Going to Make it Rain!

This week we read parsha Bechukotai (Bechukosai or B'hukkothai) which means "by my decrees/statutes(chukim)."  Bechukotai consists of Leviticus 26:3–27:34.  You can find a very brief summary here.   This is how the reading begins:  Leviticus 26:3 (NIV) 3“ ‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its … [Read more...]

Parsha Kedoshim: And You Shall be Holy…

This week we read Parsha Kedoshim (K’doshim or Qedoshim) which is the plural form of the word "holy".  Kedoshim consists of  Leviticus 19:1–20:27.  You can read a brief summary here. Kedoshim begins: Leviticus Chapter 19 (JPS Tanakh) 1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy. I recently … [Read more...]

Parsha Acharei Mot: It is NOT Redundant

This week we read parsha Acharei Mot(Aharei Mos, Ahare Moth, or just Acharei) which means "after the death" or just "after".  Acharei Mot consists of  Leviticus 16:1–18:30.  You can find a very brief summary here. Leviticus 16:1 (JPS) 1And the LORD spoke unto Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the LORD, and died; וידבר יהוה אל־משה אחרי מות שני בני אהרן … [Read more...]

UI 046: Choosing, Losing, and Doing Religion

In a previous episode (UI 032) I dealt with religion and spirituality.  And that was more about pointing out the benefits of religiosity in response to the notion that spirituality is all that is necessary (or perhaps better than religion.) This weeks topic is different though.  What if you don't have religion and you are seeking one out?  Where do you start?  How do you choose? Or what if … [Read more...]

Parsha Tazria: Misogyny, Mystery, or Meaningful

This week we read parsha Tazria (Thazria, Thazri’a, Sazria, or Ki Tazria’) which means "(if) she bears seed."  Tazria consists of  Leviticus 12:1–13:59. Leviticus 12 (NIV) 1The Lord said to Moses, 2“Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3On the eighth day the boy … [Read more...]

UI 044: Guilty by Association

So this week's Ultimate Issues has been inspired by the New York Times.  While I am not a fan of them in general, they occasionally put out articles worthy of mention.   Plus, I know that many others are reading the Times so I figure I should at least be as informed as them... The first article deals with a Jewish couple who are getting a divorce and the man has refused to grant her a get.  And … [Read more...]

Parsha Sh’mini: The Eighth Day?

This week we read Parsha Sh'mini (Shemini, or Shmini) which in Hebrew means "Eighth."  Sh'mini consists of  Leviticus 9:1–11:47. You can find a very brief summary here. Chapter 9 1 On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel. So what is the "eighth" day?  We have seven days a week right?  Plus seven is used over and over in the Torah.  Seven days of creation, … [Read more...]

Parsha Vayikra: New Wine into Old Bottles

This week we read parsha Vayikra (Va-yikra or Vayyiqra) which means "and He called."  It is also the Hebrew name of the third book in the Torah, Leviticus.  Parsha Vayikra consists of  Leviticus 1:1–5:26. So once again Torah has inspired an Ultimate Issues podcast.  Please check out UI 042: Connecting to the Divine... God is not on Facebook.  I basically talk about God, Leviticus, sacrifice, … [Read more...]

UI 042: Connecting to the Divine… God is Not on Facebook

How do you connect with the Divine? This has been something I have struggled with since I began seriously questioning my atheism.  That a transcendent Creator actually created our natural world ex nihilo was logical enough, but that He cares about His creation? Or that He desires we communicate with Him?  These were beliefs I struggled with deeply.  And still, I struggle with the way to connect … [Read more...]