- Shabbat Mattot-Mas’ei 5781
This Shabbat, in addition to being Rosh Hodesh, has the longest Torah reading of the year. The double parshah of Mattot and Mas’ei is full of narrative about the Israelite wilderness journey, including a detailed travelogue. The Masorites, who codified the system of chanting the Torah that we call trope, knew that reciting the litany of stops and starts along the ...
- Shabbat Balak 5781
Parshat Balak is most famous for its four-legged character. A Torah portion with a talking donkey should certainly be ripe for creative interpretation! As you read this week’s portion, see if you can find the connection to these songs:
The late Chris Cornell and Soundgarden
For King and Country
Blind Melon reconstituted with new vocalist
The ultimate New Yorker, ...
- Shabbat Hukkat 5781
The Torah includes many laws that make perfect sense, and stories with endings that fit the script. But this week, we have the law of the Red Heifer, with no rational explanation, and the punishment of Moses and Aaron, which defies satisfactory explanation. The best way to navigate Parshat Hukkat is, of course, with song! What made ...
- Shabbat Korah 5781
The tension mounts in the wilderness. Maybe the heat was getting to them, but now another group of Israelites causes God, Moshe and Aharon more headaches. As you read the Torah portion, think about how these songs connect to the text:
The theatrics of Peter Gabriel
Surly Billy Idol
Freddie and the Dreamers
Deep track from Eurythmics
The band on ...
- Shabbat Shelah-Lekha 5781
There’s lots of agita in the Torah portions of Sefer Bemidbar, and Parshat Shelah-Lekha is no exception. The scouting mission goes awry, and the adult Israelite population is doomed to wander in the wilderness until they die out. Still, there’s plenty of music connected to the Torah reading. The variety of artists is about as diverse as the ...