Weekly Parsha

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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Making Our Laws Holy

When an 18-year-old (may his name be blotted out) walked into a gun shop and bought a pair of assault rifles and enough ammunition to create a war zone at an elementary school, he violated no laws. The gun laws in Texas and across many parts of the United States have been so debased as to make the unholy legal. The law walked hand in hand with the gunman up to the point in which he trespassed and then unleashed carnage, taking the lives of 19 small children and two teachers in what should have been......

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