In this portion, Moses presents the People with a jumble of sentiments -- from sweeping promises to dire threats -- which found their way into prominent roles in our prayers. And, while biblical context often has little to do with the use the siddur makes of the bible's language, our prayers do reflect this portion's … Continue reading You Can’t Spend What You Ain’t Got: Eikev Prayer Links
An inter-denominational group demonstrated outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, on July 22 in support of religious freedom in Israel, in opposition to the arrest of Anat Hoffman for carrying a Torah at the Kotel and in protest of growing violence against women throughout Israel. Hoffman is the Executive Director of Israel Religious Action … Continue reading Where Will We Stand, in Elul and 5771, and How Loud Will We Be?
The earliest prayer links in Va-etchanan come in the first verse, long before what is probably the portion's most famous passage: the first paragraph of the Shema (Deut. 6:4-9). In fact, there are prayer links galore in the portion's first word: "va-etchanan" [I pleaded, implored]. Some commentaries examine details of the communication between Moses and … Continue reading Praying to Pray: Va-Et’chanan Prayer Links
During all the years that Israel was in the wilderness, on the eve of every ninth of Av, Moses sent a herald throughout the camp to proclaim, "Go out and dig graves, go out and dig graves!" and the people went out and dug graves, in which they spent the night. In the morning, the … Continue reading Tisha B’av
The mighty kings Og and Sihon -- mentioned in Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:4, with more detail in chapter 3 -- were defeated while the Israelites were still in the wilderness (Numbers/Bamidbar 20, 21). But Og and Sihon provide a direct connection to several prayers as well as to contemporary debate about what, more generally, is a "morally … Continue reading [One Hundred Thirty-]Six Degrees of Separation: Devarim Prayer Links