Jewish Food for Thought

Rabbi Harvey Spivak
Led by Rabbi Harvey Spivak

Join Rabbi Spivak on Thursdays online at 11:00 am for Jewish Food for Thought! In each session, the group will meet for a discussion about how Judaism looks at God and the world.
Every other Thursday (see dates below)
11:00 am – noon, repeating 7:30 – 8:30 pm

“Not So Literally”

“The [Torah’s] language is outmoded, based on ways of life that no longer exist,” Rodger Kamenetz complained to Eve Ilsen, wife of Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi.

“Why do you say that?” she asked.

“The Shema says to put a mezuzah on the gates of the city. Our cities don’t have gates. Yet we still repeat the worn-out phrase. We don’t know how to edit.”

Eve smiled and pointed to mouth, her ears, and her eyes. “What we’re really saying now is ‘Put a mezuzah on the gates of the mouth, on the gates of the ears, on the gates of the eyes.’” She added gently, “Not to read it so literally.”

Jews have always known that the life spark of Torah comes from reading it spiritually but not literally.

We’ll see how Midrash expands the meaning of Torah and speaks to matters of Jewish life and history. We’ll also look at interesting commentaries that read the Torah portion of the week in a way that is spiritual but not literal. There will be plenty of time for us to talk about our reactions to what we read.

Thank you !

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