Parashat Re'eh

Parashat Re’eh

Why only one God?
A Jewish scientist finds herself at a conference, presenting a paper. A colleague asks her: “what’s your religion?” Nervous of prejudice, she says: “I’m an atheist.” Her colleague answers: “Yes, but is it the God of the Jews or of the Christians in whom you do not believe?”
As everyone knows, the […]

By Sandy Potashnick |
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Parashat Eikev

 
“Eating biscuits makes you ‘pee’…”
We had demonstrated it beyond reasonable doubt.  Consistently, over half a term of seminars, our team had shown that there was a close correlation between the quantity of biscuits students consumed during a morning workshop and the number of times those students needed to excuse themselves for a ‘comfort break’.
If […]

By Sandy Potashnick |
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Parashat Vaetchanan

It’s not often that a dementia screening test makes headlines, but thanks to a sample question featuring drawings of a lion, a rhinoceros and a camel, plus one high-profile interviewee (the President of the United States), one test has recently done just that.  The Montreal Cognitive Assessment is designed to measure cognitive ability through […]

By Sandy Potashnick |
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Parashat Devarim

Some images get stuck in the memory forever. I can still remember a day when I was twelve years old, walking in a foggy valley of the Pyrenees; I could see the path I was walking on, the ferns and brambles surrounding it, but not the mountains. All of a sudden, the fog disappeared […]

By Sandy Potashnick |
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Parashat Mattot-Masei

Quite at the end of Parashat Pinchas, we read the story of the daughters of Zelophehad claiming their right to inheritance in front of Moses, who brings the case to God:
 “6 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 7 “The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right; you shall surely give them a possession […]

By Sandy Potashnick |
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Parashat Pinchas

Counting makes us feel secure. We find consolation in this ancient practice. One-two-three-four-five fingers. Two eyes, two legs, two arms. We count because it puts our world in order. It is the oldest trick in the anti-anxiety trick-book. We count the benedictions in the morning, we count sheep before we go to sleep. We […]

By Sandy Potashnick |
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Parashat Balak

This week’s sedra, Balak, contains an image echoed throughout congregational life. Standing above the Israelite encampment, the prophet Bil’am is ready to curse the Israelites. Instead, because of a decree from God that he can only speak the truth, words of praise flow from his lips. Our liturgy borrows his words, ‘How great are […]

By Sandy Potashnick |
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Parashat Chukkat

Tested on animals
A group of monkeys caused a setback to covid testing in Delhi, when they ambushed a lab technician and snatched the coronavirus samples he was carrying. The rhesus macaques then retreated up a tree to chew quietly on their spoils. Something similar happened in the film 28 Days Later.
On the other […]

By Sandy Potashnick |
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