Tag Archives: Bible

Parashat Sh’lach-Lecha (שְׁלַח־לְךָ) & 40 Years?

     This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Shelach Lechah  (פָּרָשַׁת שְׁלַח־לְךָ),  is the 37th (37/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, 5782, we read 54 separate parshiot…) reading in the annual cycle, and the fourth parashah in the book of B’midbar/Numbers. 

   Ok, so this week’s full reading has Moshe sending out for himself spies, bad reports, collective punishment, a stoning, and  Tzitzit (the blue fringes, sorry, now white fringes, on the Talit (prayer shawl)).   It’s a pretty iconic parashah on having faith even when things look bad, or so we’re told.  Problem is, it also looks like heavy-handed hierarchy.  I generally try to avoid the discussions on this parashah, because it has never been comfortable for me.   I’m too exhausted to think much, so I will add more thoughts next year.

     I look forward to hearing your opinions on this parashah, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

      Last week was: Parashat B’Haalotchah פָּרָשַׁת בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ, & Double Standards ,   

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in to create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Guest posts are always welcome.  Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

Babylon 5,  Hakan:Muhafiz/The Protector, Sihirli Annem,   Lupin,  or  La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic College Algebra & GED/HiSET Night School Lesson Plans,

           or My Nonfiction  & Historical Fiction Serial Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

Parashat B’Haalotchah פָּרָשַׁת בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ, & Double Standards

     This week’s Torah portion, Parashat B’Ha’alotchah ( בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ),  is the 36th (36/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, 5782, we read 54 separate parshiot…) reading in the annual cycle, and the third parashah in the book of B’midbar/Numbers. 

     So, this week, readers of the full reading, aka the Annual Cycle,  will discuss the punishment of Miriam for having gossiped about her brother’s wife.  But she was doing the gossiping with her other brother, Aaron:  so why does he get off scott free?    (and I’m sure there were more creative punishments that would not have rendered him unfit for his ritual duties…)       

    Side comment, on grammar:  I love the derivation of this week’s title of the parashah from Aliyah/Oleh/Olah/LaAlot -to go or lift up, so that the word B’hAalotchah can mean upon your lifting up (… of something…).

Pretty cool.

     I look forward to hearing your opinions on this question, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

      Last week was:  Parashat Nasso, & Rituals vs. Status  

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in to create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Guest posts are always welcome.  Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic College Algebra & GED/HiSET Night School Lesson Plans,

           or My Nonfiction  & Historical Fiction Serial Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Parashat Nasso, & Rituals vs. Status

     This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Nasso,  is the 35th (35/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, 5782, we read 54 separate parshiot…) reading in the annual cycle, and the second parashah in the book of B’midbar/Numbers.   This parshah is also the longest parashah in the Torah (no, I have no idea why the rabbis chose to organize it this way, except that in the summer, those long days were more suited, probably, to studying the readings…).

     So, this week, readers of the full Annual Cycle for this portion (are there any Masorti/Conservative movement shuls still on the annual cycle?) will encounter a variety of odd, possibly even abusive, rituals, like the famous Sotah, vs. the Priestly Blessing (Duchaning), and more gifts to the hierarchy.  An innocent woman could be subjected to the ritual of Sotah merely upon the whim of a jealous husband, on the other hand, maybe it prevented a few murders? The Cohanim, of course, were at the top of the hierarchy, and for the last 20k years or so, since at least the start of large scale agriculture about 12k years ago, everyone has had it.

    Hierarchy is human, but we now have the tools to begin to rise above pecking orders.

       The question is:  will we? 

       

     I look forward to hearing your opinions on this question, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

     Last week was: Parashat B’Midbar, & Who Counts?? 

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in to create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Guest posts are always welcome.  Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic College Algebra & GED/HiSET Night School Lesson Plans,

           or My Nonfiction  & Historical Fiction Serial Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Weeks, Forged Family, Aladdin, and Elisha?

    This is an update, for tonight’s holiday, my favorite, of studying overnight, with a link to the class I taught on it some years ago.  I forgot to mention that we read the Megillah of Ruth on this holiday, as well, with the famous story of Ruth and Naomi  becoming family, used by the Rabbis for the conversion process, and the idea of Na’aseh ve Nishmah by all of those who would ever accept the task of wrestling with the divine, and of Tikkun Olam, before the mountain, this day.

       As we come up to the holiday of שָׁבוּעוֹת Shavuot, shavuot_papercut_2  for the seven weeks, or 50 days counted down between Passover and Shavuot, we naturally think of the pleasures of staying up all night long to study languages, er, em, that is, to study Torah, in our Biblical languages of Hebrew and sometimes also Aramaic, with the occasional reference to another Semitic language like old Arabic, or Ugaritic, etc, for difficult words.

Great, so where do the loans come in, and what could the thief Aladdin and the prophet Elisha possibly have in common, apart from having spoken sister languages, you say.

Thank you! I am so glad you asked. It turns out that Aladdin and Elisha had quite a bit in common, being literary figures, young men of action, and you could even say financiers: they both gave Free Financial Assistance in their communities!

We know who and how Aladdin helped in stealing to survive, and in solidarity with other poor souls living in the streets. We also know how the prophet Elisha helped the widow by multiplying her oil and telling her to sell it, saving her and her sons from enslavement by their creditors. But how much better could it have been for both Aladdin, Elisha, and their communities , if crushing long-term debt didn’t exist in the first place? Isn’t that why we were commanded to release debts (and slaves) every seven years, and return property to original owners every 50 years?

This is where the Pro-bono legal aid, free debt and financial consumer education piece of our #PublicDomainInfrastructure is crucial. Knowing your rights and obligations is the first step toward taking responsibility for your own house, and then toward contributing to your community. Our financial and economic infrastructure must help create ways to rectify the structural biases inherent in our system, and encourage both individuals and communities to do the same. One tool for accomplishing this is debt-forgiveness, in circumstances of structural or personal inequity. Another tool is locally created currencies, such as Ithaca Hours or Time Banks. These are most effective when encouraged by local government as a supplement, or a means of complementing the existing federal currency. While local or community issued currencies are useful, they can be more useful in a society that has more fully included all of the population in the economic life of the community. For this reason, local currencies are more fully discussed in conjunction with Phase III of Project Do Better. These tools provide some short and long term solutions to problems that inhibit our democracy from building to full potential. Such solutions can further our ability to encourage every human being to live, contribute, and create to the fullest potential possible.

original version posted in May, 12020 HE

updated just a wee bit Erev Shavuot, 5782/12022 HE

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic College Algebra & GED/HiSET Night School Lesson Plans,

           or My Nonfiction  & Historical Fiction Serial Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about   #ProjectDoBetter

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil


Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Parashat B’Midbar, & Who Counts??

     This week’s Torah portion, Parashat B’Midbar,  is the 34th (34/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, 5782, we read 54 separate parshiot…) reading in the annual cycle, and the first parashah in the book of B’midbar/Numbers.  

   So, who counts, In The Desert, as B’Midbar (בְּמִדְבַּר) means, literally (ok, yes, the vocalization shown here is a stop, not the vowel “ah” for “in the desert” but rather “in desert” but…), as in: 

1. who is counted (men of military age, in this case), and

2.  who does the counting, or upon who’s orders is the count made, and why (I bet one hint might have to do with this week’s mention of hierarchy, again)?

       The question of who is valued and why, and who sets those values, in a society, should change over time, and does, in fact.  

       What do you think our world would look like if we really examined that which makes us uncomfortable? 

     I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

     Last week was: Parashat B’chukotai, & Whispers ,

     I look forward to hearing your opinions, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in to create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Guest posts are always welcome.  Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic College Algebra & GED/HiSET Night School Lesson Plans,

           or My Nonfiction  & Historical Fiction Serial Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Parashat B’chukotai, & Whispers

     This week’s Torah portion, Bechukotai,  is the 33rdnd (33/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) reading in the annual cycle, and the 10th and last parashah in the book of Vayikra/Leviticus.  Normally it is doubled up with last week’s parashah, Behar, but this year, 5782, being a leap year, it is read separately.

 

    This week has a 35 verse section, the Curses (which reminds me of the story of the mountain being held over the heads of The People to make them accept the Torah…), which I was asked to read one year because I’d irritated someone by whispering a word (which makes an entire sentence, in this case), some time previously, while reading a different parashah.  Different context, this week, but still whispering: all 37 verses, and quickly.  The blessings however, are read more calmly. 

         What do you think our world would look like if we really examined that which makes us uncomfortable? 

     I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

     Last week was:  Parashat B’har / פָּרָשַׁת בְּהַר, & Years of Rest and Return ,

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in and create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The Protector, Lupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic High School Lessons,

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

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Continue reading Parashat B’chukotai, & Whispers

Parashat B’har / פָּרָשַׁת בְּהַר, & Years of Rest and Return

     This week’s Torah portion,  Behar,  is the 32nd (32/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) reading in the annual cycle, and the 9th parashah, second to last in the book of Vayikra/Leviticus.  Normally it is doubled up with the coming week’s parashah, Bechukotai, but this year being a leap year, it is read separately.

   This portion (Leviticus 25:1-26:2) has the Shmitah year, which is the resting of the land every seven years, and the Year of Jubilee, which is the seventh Shmitah year (ok, actually, Shmeni is eighth, which is pretty neat, considering that it is the year after the 7th, aka the 8th, when the shmitah year takes place…).

   I am convinced that both the release of servants every 7 years, and the release of debts with return of land to original families, every 50, were an integral part of preventing inequality from piling up, as it has now, here in the USA.   This idea motivated my original acre/person idea in Project Do Better, even if that idea has been mostly removed from the Do Better manifesto, sadly.

         What do you think our world would look like if we followed the release of debts every 50 years? 

     I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

     Last week was: Parashat Emor / פָּרָשַׁת אֱמוֹר, What Authority Stands For ,

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in and create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The Protector, Lupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic High School Lessons,

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

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Continue reading Parashat B’har / פָּרָשַׁת בְּהַר, & Years of Rest and Return

Parashat Emor / פָּרָשַׁת אֱמוֹר, What Authority Stands For

     This week’s Torah portion,  Emor,  is the 31st (31/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) reading in the annual cycle, and the 8th parashah in the book of Vayikra/Leviticus.

   This portion ( Leviticus 21:1-24:23 ) has examples of a central authority and their expected behavior, not to mention their care and feeding, and the representative structure of their authority:  the Mishkan (aka The Tabernacle).  The parashah also details some of the use of that authority for gathering purposes, and an example of the enforcement of said authority.

    Several thousand years, and a new nation, ago, such hierarchies were not uncommon ways of establishing the rule of law.  Common laws and norms, indeed, are necessary for us to live together.  But, now that we have advanced to the point where most (%90 of males, john_hancock_envelope_signature    & 82.7 of females, per UNESCO as of 2019),  human beings are literate, perhaps such trappings around the rule of law are less needed.

         What do you think our world could look like if every one of us learned, taught, and followed the empathetic rule of law? 

     I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

     Last week was: Parashat Kedoshim, What Torah Stands Upon ,

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The Protector, Lupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic High School Lessons,

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

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Continue reading Parashat Emor / פָּרָשַׁת אֱמוֹר, What Authority Stands For

Parashat Kedoshim, What Torah Stands Upon

     This week’s Torah portion,  K’doshim,  is the 30th (30/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) reading in the annual cycle, and the 7th parashah in the book of Vayikra/Leviticus.

   This portion has the verse from which Rabbi Hillel draws his famous order to the prospective convert wanting to learn Torah while standing on one foot:

  “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your Neighbor.  On this hangs the whole Torah; the rest is commentary: go learn it.”

  (Sorry, I’m too tired to quote the original src from which this comes, but here is a lovely article which does cite Hillel, and this parshah’s verse which R. Hillel was using as the basis for his order to the man, who did, apparently, go on to convert to Judaism, if I recall correctly.  Hopefully Dolly or David will read this and correct me if I’m mis-remembering…)  

         What do you think our world could look like if every one of us followed the order given by Rabbi Hillel? 

     I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

     Last week was: Parashat Acharei Mot, Mourning, and Caring for Each Other ,

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The Protector, Lupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic High School Lessons,

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Continue reading Parashat Kedoshim, What Torah Stands Upon

Parashat Acharei Mot, Mourning, and Caring for Each Other

     This week’s Torah portion,  Acharei Mot (After the Death of…),  is the 29th (29th/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) through the annual cycle, and the 6th parashah in the book of Vayikra/Leviticus.

   This portion deals with preventing tragedies like that of the two sons of Aaron last regular parashah ( Parashat Metzorah), and also lists prohibitions on certain things that now seem pretty obvious, and give us much of our Western Cultural ideas.  For example “the life of the flesh is in the blood,” and not sleeping with your daughter-in-law.  All of these prohibitions suggest a way of reasoning that leads to the idea that caring about others, and for others, is the basis of a functioning society.  From caring for the animals whose lives meat-eaters take in order to feel nourished, to caring for the feelings of those close to our families, who must not be allowed to be violated via a technicality.   

         What could equity of responsibility and citizenry look like, if every person had proper health care, and everyone had a safe home? 

  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

          Parashat Metzorah, Healing Houses, and Caring for People was the week before Pesach (which ended last week…)

and

   Next week (Parasha 30) will be: Parashat Kedoshim, What Torah Stands Upon ,

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The Protector, Lupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic High School Lessons,

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Continue reading Parashat Acharei Mot, Mourning, and Caring for Each Other