Crackers for God

Crackers for God

Mar 16, 2015 By William Friedman | Commentary | Vayikra | Pesah | Shabbat Hahodesh

What kind of gift would you give a king? In the interests of both respect and self-preservation, probably the nicest thing you could afford! And if you’d give this to a human king, how much more would you give to the King of Kings of Kings? And yet the Torah prescribes that any grain offered in the Temple cannot contain either yeast or honey. That’s right: the only appropriate grain offering for God is matzah—the tasteless cracker that is about to become the source of so much complaining on Passover! Why would the Torah tell us to do such a thing?

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Shabbat: A Model Of, and For, the World

Shabbat: A Model Of, and For, the World

Feb 6, 2015 By William Friedman | Commentary | Yitro

In Parashat Yitro, the command to “remember” Shabbat (Exod. 20:8) is observed in order to recognize the eternal sanctity of the day on which God rested on the seventh day of Creation. This command is recapitulated in Deuteronomy with significant revision: the Israelites are to “observe” Shabbat (Deut. 5:12) in order to ensure that slaves (i.e., workers) are given an opportunity for rest. What are we to make of these dual aspects of Shabbat, one in which we reenact God’s primordial resting; the other in which we attempt to achieve a measure of protection for the economically vulnerable?

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Paying Attention to Our Bodies and Ourselves

Paying Attention to Our Bodies and Ourselves

Apr 3, 2014 By William Friedman | Commentary | Metzora

What are the rituals that help us transition from one experience to another?

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