Tag Archives: Bible

Start of Year 5783: Last Two Parshiot of the Torah, On Doing Better

    This week we’ll hear Parashat VaYelech, and then Ha’azinu, at the end of the Torah.

These last two parshiot of the Torah essentially are the founding leader handing over the mantle to his protege, while telling the people that they will certainly fail, but that they could Do Better.  If only they wanted to.

Project Do Better is founded on the idea that by building empathy while educating around community mutual aid and public infrastructure, we can build a world that does indeed Do Better, starting right now.

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

We can really  Do Better. -Shira

                                       Last week was: Parashat Nitzavim (נִצָּבִים) 5782: Rule of Law -It’s Not Across The Ocean, Folks. …  ,

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 the spare time and energy?

*****************

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

Parashat Nitzavim (נִצָּבִים) 5782: Rule of Law -It’s Not Across The Ocean, Folks.

    This week’s Torah portion,Nitzavim (נִצָּבִים),  is the 51st (51/53 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 53…) reading in the annual cycle.  It’s the 8/10th parashah in the book of Dvarim,  (although this parsha is normally read on the same Shabbat as Parashat VaYelech…) with the full reading in Dvarim/.  Nearly the end of the year.

I love how Moshe basically tells people, in the words of the USNA class of 1990, “it’s not that difficult,” in Parashat Nitzavim.  “Lo baShamaim, hi … ”   It’s not in the heavens, and not across the ocean, so no on has to go search for it, because it is right here.  I used to love preparing for leyning (chanting) those verses.  So clear and ‘smack myself in the head’ obvious that the foundation of a stable society is agreement upon a set of humane laws.  These laws obviously left a lot to be desired, but they were a start, and now, we can Do Better.

full moon on a blue sky
Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

Project Do Better is founded on the idea that by building empathy while educating around community mutual aid and public infrastructure, we can build a world that does indeed Do Better, right here on Earth.

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

We can really  Do Better. -Shira

                                       Last week was: Parashat Ki Tavo (כִּי־תָבוֹא) 5782, and Let’s Just Do Better, Please …  ,

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 the spare time and energy?

*****************

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

Parashat Ki Tavo (כִּי־תָבוֹא) 5782, and Let’s Just Do Better, Please

    This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo (כִּי־תָבוֹא),  is the 50th (50/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) reading in the annual cycle.  It’s the 7/10th parashah in the book of Dvarim,  (although the next two parshiot are normally read on the same Shabbat) with the full reading in Dvarim/Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8.  Nearly the end of the year.

Again with carrots and sticks.   Sorry, too tired to deal.  More next week, as we see some of the most beautiful imagery of redemption in all of the Torah, in Parashat Netzavim (chapter 30 of Dvarim).  I used to love preparing for leyning (chanting) those verses.

Project Do Better is founded on the idea that by building empathy while educating around community mutual aid and public infrastructure, we can build a world that offers more emotional carrots, and needs fewer sticks.  Of any kind.

What do you think this parashah full of carrots and sticks does to help us build an empathetic society?

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

We can really  Do Better. -Shira

                                       Last week was: Dvarim: Parashat Ki Tetzei, and Humanity vs. Law …  ,

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 the spare time and energy?

*****************

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

Parashat Ki Tetzei, and Humanity vs. Law

Parashat Ki Tetzei (l'milchama...) /When you go out to war... (war against whom, or against what?  Against inhumanity, perhaps?)

    This week we read about the requirement, from which the RAMBAM draws his famous order, not to return a fugitive slave.  Ironic, for a country claiming to be founded in principles based on the Bible, to pass a law ordering the contrary, no?  This parashah, as well as the inhumane law which it prohibits, figures prominently in Black Historyfugitive-slave_kidnap_post_1851_boston  which, of course,  is also American history.

  The_Fugitive_Slave_Law....Hamlet_in_Chains

We can Do Better.

Last week was Parashat Shoftim, and the Rule of Law

Action Item:

 Share your thoughts on how language learning can widen perspectives, and increase humanity.

Shira

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

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

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

Parashat Shoftim, and the Rule of Law

Parashat Shoftim /שׁוֹפְטִיםפרשת 

    This week we read about judges, and about the rules of warfare, among other things.   The very existence of such rules indicates that there are certain levels of compassion which we are required to extend even to our enemies.  This set of laws having been written several thousand years ago, we should now be further advanced in our understanding (as I argued last year) of the need for compassion and agreement on the rule of law, no?

May we all find compassionate and inclusive community.

Last week was Parashat Re’eh, and Self Health Care

Action Items:

1.) Share your thoughts on how community can help, or hinder, inclusive thinking,

Shira

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

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

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

Parashat Re’eh, and Self Health Care

 

Parashat Re’eh / פרשת רְאֵה

 

I taught a class on this parashah at the DC Beit Midrash, some years ago, as a follow up to the previous year’s class on a different parashah.   Since I schedule my posts ahead, I will be away (mostly) from the internet all weekend, concentrating on clearing paper notes from my desk for my own mental health. 

May we all find healthy and inclusive community.

I will be taking off tomorrow, so our usual Sunday GED class post will resume next week.

Last week was: Parashat Eikev (עֵקֶב) 5782, and Carrots And Sticks  ;

Action Items:

1.) Share your thoughts on how community can help, or hinder, inclusive thinking,

Shira

 

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

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

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

 
 

ShiraDest

Parashat Eikev (עֵקֶב) 5782, and Carrots And Sticks …

    This week’s Torah portion, Eikev (עֵקֶב),  is the 46th (46/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) reading in the annual cycle.  It’s the third parashah in the book of Dvarim, with the full reading in Dvarim/Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25.

      So this week we have more blessings and curses, incentives to follow the divinely commanded social order laid down by Moshe.  It makes sense, but do we still need such incentives today, when we have education and technology to give reach to the information needed in a modern Democracy?

I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers. We can really  Do Better. -Shira Last week was: Parashat Vaetchanan (וָאֶתְחַנַּן) 5782, and Free Legal Utterances   , 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 the spare time and energy?

*****************

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

Parashat Vaetchanan (וָאֶתְחַנַּן) 5782, and Free Legal Utterances

    This week’s Torah portion, Vaetchanan (וָאֶתְחַנַּן),  is the 45th (45/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) reading in the annual cycle.  It’s the second parashah in the book of Dvarim, with the full reading in Dvarim/Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11.

   Among other things, like the second recitation of The 10 Utterances,  aka The Law, with a key word change (emphasized in L’cha Dodi…), this portion has the Shema,  which is a bit like the Shahada for Muslims, in that it is recited at death, but also in the daily prayers (with the full paragraphs, not recited as often), as well as at the taking out of the Torah scroll, in the form of a call and response.  There is a midrash that Yaakov/Israel, on his death bed, asked a worried question, to which his sons responded by reciting the Shema, and he responded to his sons’ answer  with the additional phrase that we now say quietly (Baruch shem kavod malchuto l’olam vaed -due to the Roman prohibition on that phrase, 2000 years ago).

      This was held to be a uniquely personal and powerful experience.  This is foundational for western, and even parts of Eastern, civilization, but now, are we capable, at least in theory, of upholding law through logic rather than divine command?

What do you think this parashah full of sayings/utterings and responses does to help us build an empathetic society?

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

We can really  Do Better. -Shira

                                       Last week was: Dvarim: Parashat Dvarim (דְּבָרִים) 5782, on The 9th of Av…  ,

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 the spare time and energy?

*****************

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

Parashat Dvarim (דְּבָרִים) 5782, on The 9th of Av…

    This week’s Torah portion, Dvarim (דְּבָרִים),  is the 44th (44/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) reading in the annual cycle, the first in the book of that name, from Dvarim/Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22.

   This book is basically a second redaction, for that reason called Deut, of the earlier laws, and many of them are restated in the book of Dvarim (words).

   Interestingly, today, the 6th of August, 12022 HE, also happens to fall on the 9th day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar, which is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar: the observance of the destruction of the Temple.

Which temple, you ask.  Both.

The night of Kristallnacht, 9th November, also fell on a ninth of a month two moons away from the Start of the year (though the Hebrew calendar actually starts the count in Nisan…) and so Tisha b’Av is seen as a day of cyclical dread.  The three weeks before are observed by many, even still, as The Three Weeks, with Rosh Chodesh Av, the start of this month, beginning The Nine Days, of intense mourning.  I have always admired this communal descent into depression as a way of building empathy for those who suffer with depression or trauma in their every day lives.  These three weeks give the entire community a way to understand what a traumatized or depressed person goes through (yes, there is a difference, but in acute trauma reactions, it is often difficult to distinguish…).

      This emphasizes, as will be repeated in various coming parshiot, the need to help one another, as a community.  And the need for empathy.  For all.

         What do you think this holiday does to build an empathetic society? I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers. We can really  Do Better. -Shira Last week was: Parashat Matot מַּטּוֹת 5782, & Outliers Still Have To Help  , 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 the spare time and energy?

*****************

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

Parashat Matot מַּטּוֹת 5782, & Outliers Still Have To Help

     This week’s Torah portion, Matot (מַּטּוֹת),  is the 42nd (42/54 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 B’Midbar/Numbers, although I normally think of it as Matot-Masei,  the 42 & 43 parshiot read together as a double-parashah, since it is doubled up so many years with next parashat Masei.  This week, in fact, we will also read both parshiot, but this year I will only look at Parashat Matot, which is read in B’Midbar/Numbers 30:2-32:42.

   So, among other things, two tribes see how nice the land is on the other side of the Jordan, and ask to have their inheritances there, instead of between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, like everybody else.  Moshe says ok, on condition that they still help everyone else conquer the territory designated earlier.  Not great for ethical behavior toward the rest of the world, but still has a lesson in how to behave toward community:  even those who’ve already ‘got theirs’ still have to help everyone else ‘get theirs.’

  Despite the discomfort of this parashah in terms of conquest of other peoples’ land, the lesson for later times can be seen in terms of building an equitable society, in that it takes the help of all, the privileged and those who already have what they need, to provide for the needs of all.

         What do you think we can do to build an equitable society? I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers. We can really  Do Better. -Shira Last week was:  Parashat Pinchas פִּינְחָס 5782, & Women Still Don’t Count? , 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 the spare time and energy?

*****************

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