Showing posts from 2020

Lead Wings

Perched in a high branch of her favorite tree, Icarus watched nervously as her father spent another afternoon gazing restlessly out across the sea. “Going home” was all he talked about these days, but she had only been three years old when they went into exile; this island was the only home she could remember. When he started to build the wings, she tried everything she could think of to stop him. Pretending frivolity, she ran through his neat piles of feathers, trying to scatter them, waste them, make them useless. He always found more, though. Of course he did, the island was lousy with birds. Stupid. Wax must surely be in short supply, though, she thought. She stole away as much as she could from his stores, sculpting clever statues and feigning innocence as she presented them to him proudly. He only shook his head and chuckled indulgently, then hiked back out to the trees to scrape off some more. She considered setting fire to the wings while he slept, but she couldn’t quit

D'var Torah on the ritual of the Sotah (for my Bat Mitzvah)

The verses of Numbers 5:11-31 are by far the most disturbing of Parsha Naso. They contain descriptions of a ritual which humiliates women and highlights their relative lack of agency in the ancient world. Nonetheless, I believe that it is our duty as Jews to wrestle with all that we have inherited and not pretend away the complexities in our sacred texts. Perhaps we can learn something from its shortcomings. You can read them here , if you like, but my d'var Torah, below, probably makes enough sense even if you can't. ----- During the Israelites’ last few months in Egypt, they knew something had to change.  They feared for their wellbeing, for their lives, for their children, and they called out to God to save them. Then they brought chaos into the streets. They destroyed the businesses and looted the homes of their oppressors before fleeing with Moses, out of bondage and subjugation, into an unknown wilderness.  Much of what we read in Torah post-exodus is thei