Shabbat Tazria Metzora: Tzaraat and Sex Trafficking

The double parashah of Tazria-Metzorah this Shabbat draws us into the strange realm of negaim, blemishes of the body, clothing and even homes that signal impurity and require urgent attention. This topic was considered to be one of the most complicated areas of Jewish law in antiquity, and it remains challenging for us today. We often associate this…

Shabbat Shmini 5775: The Body and Soul of Kashrut

I recently booked that rare flight which offers menu options, and was curious to peruse the fourteen choices currently available: Kosher, Asian Vegetarian, Dairy Vegetarian, Low cal/chol/fat, Vegetarian Non-Dairy, Hindu, Halal, Low Sodium, Gluten Free, Diabetic, Toddler, Child, Baby, and… Bland. My experience of airplane food is that it is always bland, but I suppose they are capable…

Pesah 5775: Disarming the Angel of Death

There is a wild story at the end of the seventh chapter of B. Ketubot about Rabbi Yehoshua b. Levi. He is praised for visiting patients afflicted with the dreaded “ra’atan” disease (apparently some sort of parasite in the skull) and studying Torah with them, even as his rabbinic colleagues fearfully kept their distance. I concede…