David Shneyer Writings

Parsha, Nitzavim: Choice of the Blessing or the Curse

Some of us have been watching Ken Burn’s documentary, The U.S. and the Holocaust. I’ve seen many documentaries and films about the Holocaust over the years, but none as vivid, disturbing and thoughtful as this one. Along with daily news about the atrocities committed by Russia to the people of […]

Parsha Shoftim and Seeking Justice

Given the assault on our justice system, the FBI and federal judges, not to mention other democratic institutions, this week’s Parsha, Shoftim, couldn’t be more right on. “18 Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the Eternal your God is giving you, and they shall […]

Experience Commonplace Deeds as Spiritual Adventures

Ekev is a great Parsha! It becomes even clearer that G!d is in need of our right actions in order to be Godself. This understanding is explored beautifully in the teachings of Abraham Joshua Heschel is his work God in Search of Man. “This is one of the goals of […]

Tisha B’Av and Remembering

This week we also commemorate Tisha B’Av, the most tragic day in Jewish history, recalling the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temples and other tragic events. It begins Saturday night August 6. It is also the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. For the Jewish people we have tried, throughout […]

Parshiot Matot-Masey and Promised Land 42 Stops

Well, we just got back from the Promised Land! Actually, not the biblical Promised Land. We spent several days in and around Canaan Valley, West Virginia. It was the perfect place to go if you’re into the Parshiot this week. Matot-Masey, a double Parsha, brings us to the mountains overlooking […]

Parsha Balak and Attempt to Destroy the Israelites

The Torah journey this week is also quite challenging. This week’s Parsha, Balak, is named for the Moabite king that wants to destroy the Israelites. He solicits the help of a desert monotheistic prophet named Bilaam and bribes him to curse the Israelites. It is a fascinating story and certainly […]

Parallel Themes from Parsha Chukat and Today’s World

Loss is a major theme in this week’s Parsha, Chukat. Almost immediately after last week’s parsha and the challenges to Moses’ leadership, he is now faced with the deaths of Miriam and, then, at the close of the pasha, of Aaron. Not only were they his siblings but, they were […]

Parsha, Shlach L’cha – Isaac Wallsten’s Partial Dva Torah

This past Shabbat, a young man, Isaac Wallsten, celebrated his becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Held at Sanctuary, he read beautifully from the opening verses of the Parsha, Shlach L’cha. Part of his Dvar Torah is below. God speaks to Moses, telling him to send twelve scouts, one from each tribe, […]

Parshat BaMidar and Shavuot

This Shabbat we read from Parshat BaMidar, in the Wilderness, the fourth book of the Torah. In English we know it as the Book of Numbers, given that name because of the census taken at the beginning of the book, counting those eligible for the defense of the new nation and […]

Parsha B’khukotai Reminds Us Of Statues and Mitzvot

Our hearts are heavy with the news of a gunman killing nineteen children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas. Many of us are furious over the inability of our leaders to pass stronger gun control laws. What will it take for our leaders to wake up? Many have children and […]