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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Vayekhi 2017

Vayekhi: On Being Old and Satisfied

This week’s reading, Vayekhi, is the last portion in the book of Genesis. The tale of Joseph is concluded, and Jacob–the last of the patriarchs–dies in Egypt, surrounded by his offspring: Jacob finished commanding his sons, and he gathered up his feet into the bed, and expired and was gathered to his people. (Genesis 49:33) It’s […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Vayiggash 2016

Vayiggash: Don’t Know Mind

This week’s reading (Vayiggash) concludes the story of Joseph and his brothers. At the conclusion of last week’s reading, a stolen goblet was discovered in Benjamin’s pack. Benjamin was the youngest of Jacob’s sons and especially beloved by his father as his mother, Rachel, had died and Joseph was presumed dead. The goblet had been […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Miketz 2016

Miketz: Karma and the Spiritual Path

In this week’s reading (Miketz) the tale of Joseph and his brothers resumes. As you may recall, in last week’s Torah portion, Joseph set out to see his brothers who were pasturing their herds away from the family encampment. Things went downhill pretty quickly, and his brothers sold him into slavery. He ended up in […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Vayeshev 2016

Vayeshev: Seeing the Whole

In this week’s reading Vayeshev, the Torah shifts its focus to the next generation and especially to Jacob’s favorite child, Joseph. In a family of twelve sons from four different mothers, there was bound to be a fair amount of sibling rivalry. But Jacob’s obvious favoritism and Joseph’s (apparent) arrogance certainly exacerbated the situation. Perhaps […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Vayetze 2016

Vayetze: Angels Going Up and Down

This week’s reading (Vayetze) opens with Jacob’s first night on the run from the family he’d betrayed. When the sun had set and he could no longer travel, he lay down to sleep: He dreamed, and behold! A ladder set up on the earth and its top reached the heavens; and behold! Angels of God were […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Khayyei Sarah 2016

Khayyei Sarah: Love and Comfort

This week’s Torah reading (Khayyei Sarah) describes, among many other events, Abraham’s efforts to find a wife for his son, Isaac. As you may recall, Isaac was the longed-for and much-loved son of Abraham and Sarah. He was born late in their lives, long after they had given up hope of conceiving. He is the child […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Vayera 2016

Vayera: Not Knowing

I’ve written and rewritten my reflection on this week’s reading three times. Vayera includes many significant passages, all of which are worthy of comment. But–unusually for me–I have nothing to say about any of them. The recent election has shaken me–along with many, many others–to the core. There is great uncertainty about what is next for America, but […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Lekh Lekha 2106

Lekh Lekha: Going Forward

The opening words of this week’s reading, Lekh Lekha (Go Forth), hold a different meaning for me in the painful aftermath of the recent U.S. election. The Torah portion opens with the following words: And YHVH said to Abram, “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Bereshit 2016

Bereshit: Beginning, Again

This week, we begin our third cycle through the Torah. Once again, we come to Bereshit, the first reading of the first book of the Torah. Although the reading is the same, we are not, and that is part of the magic of re-engaging the same text on a regular basis. The book is known in […]

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