Devarim and Eichah

Here are some background materials relating to the Torah portion Devarim, the Grateful Dead, and Shabbat Hazon. Also included are a selection from Marge Piercy’s “Nishmat” and an excerpt from Fanny Neuda’s Hours of Devotion to be included in the Shabbat morning service, August 10 at Temple Micah. Handout for August 10.

Here are the full articles excerpted in the handout:

“What the Grateful Dead Can Teach Us About Tisha B’av” (Times of Israel June 2017) by Rabbi Simeon Cohen
“Tuning In Together” by Granville Ganter (1999 article)

Also attached are some notes and quotes from Yoram Hazony’s book, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge University Press, 2012) from the chapter, “Truth and Being in the Hebrew Bible.” He discusses a number of verses from the book of Devarim, several from the opening portion, in the process of outlining his ideas about words, objects and dualism (or, he argues, lack thereof) in the Tanakh. I prepared this PDF for discussion of this Torah portion but then decided to talk about something entirely different this week. Perhaps eventually I’ll write up the notes for the drash I decided not to give; meanwhile, here’s the PDF: “Davar and Devarim: What is a davar and when is it true or false?

Gathering Sources: Va’etchanan

Some thoughts and resources for exploring the Torah portion Va’etchanan — sometimes spelled Va’eschanan — Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11. In 2019, reading begins with minchah 8/10/19, concluding with Shabbat Nachamu, 8/17/19. This is part of a series of weekly “gathering sources” posts, collecting previous material on the weekly Torah portion, most originally part of a 2010 series called “Opening the Book.”

Something to Notice: Rhetorical Strategy of Witness

Great Source(s): On the Shema

Praying to Pray: Va’Etchanan Prayer Links

Gathering Sources: Devarim

Some thoughts and resources for exploring the Torah portion Devarim — sometimes spelled “D’varim,” occasionally “Debarim” — Devarim 1:1-3:22. This is part of a series of weekly “gathering sources” posts, collecting previous material on the weekly Torah portion, most originally part of a 2009-10 series called “Opening the Book.”

Language and Translation: Words and Bees
Great Source(s): On bible and Jewish culture
Another Great Source: Torah in Motion
A Path to Follow: On rebuke
Something to Notice: Consolation

See also: Devarim Prayer Links

Devarim is next read in the Diaspora Shabbat August 10, beginning with mincha on August 3.

yellow and black bee in macro photography

Photo by David Hablützel on Pexels.com

Gathering Sources: Mattot-Masei

Some thoughts and resources for exploring the double Torah portion Matot-Masei. Matot — also spelled Mattot, sometimes Mattoth or Matos — is composed of Numbers 30:2- 32:48 and is usually read along with Masei — also spelled — Numbers 33:1-26:13. In some leap years, but not all, the two portions are read separately.

The double portion is next read in most of the Diaspora and beginning with minchah on July 27 and concluding with on Shabbat morning August 3, 2019. (At Temple Micah in Washington, DC — which follows an idiosyncratic schedule — the two portions are read separately, putting the congregation’s reading schedule back in synch with the rest of the Jewish world with August 10 reading of Devarim.)

Matot A Path to Follow: What’s the Beef with Midian?

Matot Something to Notice: Kashering utensils

Masei Great Source: Ahad Ha-am on the prophet



See also:

Prayer Link: Seeing You in 42 Familiar Places

Dvar Torah: You Didn’t Have to Be There

Dvar Torah in memory of Max Ticktin (z”l): Heavy Tongue, or the House of Cards theory of bible study


This is part of a series of weekly “gathering sources” posts, collecting previous material on the weekly Torah portion, most originally part of a 2010 series called “Opening the Book.”

Gathering Sources: Naso

Some thoughts and resources for exploring the Torah portion, Naso — sometimes spelled Nasso — Numbers 4:21-7:89. This is part of a series of weekly “gathering sources” posts, collecting previous material on the weekly Torah portion, most originally part of a 2010 series called “Opening the Book”:

A Path to Follow: Cherubim

Something to Notice: Priestly Blessing and Peace

Great Source(s): Bob Dylan and Mystery Midrash

Language and Translation: the offense

See also: Naso: Prayer Links on their own gifts

God’s Shadow: Naso Prayer Links

For those attempting to follow Gathering Sources weekly postings, note that this one is appearing out of order, after schedule got off-track with Shavuot. Apologies. Nearly caught up.

Gathering Sources: Bamidbar

Thoughts and resources for exploring the Torah portion, Bamidbar — sometimes: Bemidbar or B’midbar — Numbers 1:1-4:20. This is part of a series of weekly “gathering sources” posts, collecting previous material on the weekly Torah portion, most originally part of a 2010 series called “Opening the Book”:

A Path to Follow: From One Month

Something to Notice: God Grieves

Great Source: The Biography of Ancient Israel

See also: Bamidbar: Prayer Links

Note to those trying to follow the Gathering Sources series: Postings lagged following Shavuot. Sorry. Catching up.

Gathering Sources: Chukat

Some thoughts on the Torah portion, Chukat — also spelled: Chukkat, Chukkas, and Hukat — Numbers 19:1-22:1. This is part of a series of weekly “gathering sources” posts, collecting previous material on the weekly Torah portion, most originally part of a 2010 series called “Opening the Book”:

Great Source(s): Miriam’s Well

Language and translation: Bards? Rhapsodes?

A Path to Follow: Rise Up, O Well

Something to Notice: A Very Big White Space

See also: Then Israel Sang

Note to those trying to follow the Gathering Sources series: posting went off schedule with Shavuot. Sorry. This post comes in advance of the reading of Chukat, in most of the Diaspora on July 13, Shabbat, beginning on mincha July 6, and missing posts will appear soon.