Weekly Parsha

Fear, Confidence, and Competence

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been having a repeated conversation with our almost seven-year-old surrounding the waterslide at our town pool. He’s naturally a bit anxious and nervous (which he certainly gets from his parents), and while my wife and daughter love going down the slide, he has yet to do it. He wants to, in theory, but every time he gets to the top, he walks back down. Fear can be a powerful motivator, but most of the time, it’s a paralyzing force. It’s not just an emotion, it’s also......

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The Stars in the Past Give Us a Powerful Present

Late Monday night and Tuesday morning, the James Webb Telescope showed its first images after its launch six months ago. And while the images from the Hubble telescope were incredible, these blow away even astronomers. As these images inspire everyone from NASA astrophysicists to ordinary laypeople, they remind us that seeing the size and scope of the universe never gets old. Stars have captured the human imagination for millennia, and we’ve often linked the workings of the heavens with the actions here on earth. In antiquity, the movement of the stars were often used......

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Barley: A Love Story

This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Nasso relates the ancient and problematic practice of Sotah, in which a husband who experiences a “fit of jealousy” and is “wrought up” (Numbers 5:14) that his wife might have been unfaithful to him, can engage a ritual practice to discern whether she is innocent of wrongdoing. It is grotesquely patriarchal and filled with magical thinking that a yucky mixture of barley flour, earth from the floor of the Tabernacle, and water “induces a spell” that makes a woman’s “thigh to sag” and “belly to distend” if......

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