Seven Minute Torah

Seven Minute Torah

Making modern meaning from ancient texts! Each week Rabbi Micah Streiffer discusses the weekly Torah portion in about 7 to 10 minutes, through liberal Jewish eyes. We weave together philosophy, spirituality, tradition, and social justice - and derive meaning for today‘s life from our sacred sources. Longer episodes include a bonus interview with leading rabbis and Jewish thought leaders. With questions or comments, please contact me at rabbistreiffer@gmail.com.

Episodes

February 21, 2024 10 mins

This Torah portion is about clothes: colors, fabrics, hems, designs - the details of the priestly clothing. We talk about why the Torah goes into such a meticulous description, and what it has to do with our own spiritual lives. (Plus I sing for you!)

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In the midst of a tedious Torah portion, the Rabbis tell a story that connects the building of the Mishkan (the portable sanctuary in the wilderness) with an audacious act of hope by Jacob 400 years earlier.

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February 6, 2024 11 mins

We explore one of the Torah's most infamous laws - the "eye for an eye" passage in Exodus 21 - to discovery what it's REALLY about, and what it says about the imperative for building a just society. We also briefly explore how this law undergirds Jewish views of abortion.

To sign up for Rabbi Leah Berkowitz's class on Reproductive Justice in Judaism (this Thursday, February 8), visit https://laasok.org/current-offerings/#repro

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    We are traditionally taught that we ALL stood together at Sinai. And yet the Torah reveals that certain people and certain voices were excluded from that pivotal moment. I talk with Rabbi Dalia Marx about finding and recapturing those silenced voices, in order to create a more inclusive Judaism.

    Rabbi Dalia Marx is author of From Time to Time: Journeys in the Jewish Calendar.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. To...
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    January 23, 2024 9 mins

    In this parashah, the Torah tells the story of the parting of the Red Sea. The Rabbis tell the story of the brave person who made that miracle possible. In doing so, they turn the story on its head - they make it about OUR capacity for miracle-making. 

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    January 16, 2024 10 mins

    The story of Pharaoh and the plagues is a story of how fear leads us toward actions that don't reflect our best selves.

     

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    January 9, 2024 10 mins

    The idea that God "hardened Pharaoh's heart" is a major theological conundrum. Does it mean there's no free will?? We explore what some of the commentators have said about this, and what it means for our own lives.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of this podcast, visit either www....
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    January 2, 2024 14 mins

    As we start a new book of the Torah, why does it sound like we're right in the middle of something? We talk about the significance of this transitional moment for Jewish identity and continuity, and for both Jewish and Palestinian self-understanding.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the productio...
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    December 12, 2023 12 mins

    One of the subtexts of the Joseph story is the ongoing growth of Judah, who increasingly demonstrates an ability to take responsibility and to care about the needs and well-being of others. This makes him a secondary "hero" of Joseph's story.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of thi...
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    December 5, 2023 14 mins

    Joseph's story is the story of how holding a vision of a better world helps us work toward a better world.

     

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    The terrible story of the rape of Dinah, Jacob's daughter, teaches about cycles of violence and vengeance, and about how victims' voices can so easily be erased or ignored.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of this podcast, visit either www.patreon.com/sevenminutetorah (for per-epis...
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    November 21, 2023 11 mins

    What does it mean when Jacob exclaims, "God is in this place and I did not know it!" How can we work to recognize, and bring, the Divine into the world during dark times?

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of this podcast, visit either www.patreon.com/sevenminutetorah (for per-episod...
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    November 14, 2023 13 mins

    The story of Isaac quarrelling with the Philistines over the digging of wells is a reminder that living in the land of Israel has always meant sharing the land and its resources, making space for multiple peoples and multiple stories.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of this podcas...
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    November 7, 2023 14 mins

    The story of the death of Sarah and Abraham is also a story about their children, and how we are all family.

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    October 31, 2023 15 mins

    Abraham's argument with God over the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah is actually a message - an eminently relevant message - about seeing the humanity in each person.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of this podcast, visit either www.patreon.com/sevenminutetorah (for per-episode co...
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    October 24, 2023 13 mins

    A prominent feature of this week's Torah portion is the name changes of Abraham and Sarah. We discuss the meaning of their names, and what it means to have a name.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of this podcast, visit either www.patreon.com/sevenminutetorah (for per-episode contr...
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    The story of Noah's flood begins with a world "filled with lawless violence." With a nod to Donniel Hartman and the "For Heaven's Sake" podcast, we look at how this might apply to Israel's current moment.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of this podcast, visit either www.patreon.co...
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    In the wake of last weekend's horrific acts of terror, and in the midst of a mounting crisis in Israel, I talk to poet Alden Solovy about life in Jerusalem, about Bereshit, and about how words can uncover layers of meaning and connection.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of this po...
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    October 3, 2023 13 mins

    In his final blessing to the people of Israel, Moses leaves us with a message for moving forward.

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    September 19, 2023 11 mins

    The Torah's penultimate parashah is a poem about covenant, fidelity, adversity and growth. A perfect message for the High Holy Days, and for every day.

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    • Seven Minute Torah is a production of LAASOK. For info on our weekly Zoom Torah study groups or other learning opportunities go to https://laasok.org/.
    • To support the production of this podcast, visit either www.patreon.com/sevenminutetorah (for per-episode contribution) OR...
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