David Shneyer Writings

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 […]

Lag B’Omer and the Affirmation of Life

Tonight, is the 33rd day of the Omer. Known throughout time as Lag B’Omer it is a special day during the 7 weeks between Pesach and Shavuot. After an intense four weeks of planting and cultivating the land there is a reprieve. Our sages also credit the day with the […]

Ethics of the Sages

We are now midway through the Period of the Omer, halfway to Sinai. During these six weeks there is a lovely tradition of studying a small text from the Mishna, called Pirke Avot, the Ethics of the Sages. It is an extraordinary anthology of ethical teachings by the Tanna, the […]

Counting of the Omer in Today’s Climate

In Jewish time we are in the second week of the counting of the Omer, an ancient practice and mitzvah when a measure of grain was brought to the Temple each of the 49 days after the beginning of Pesach. The focus is clearly on the land, it’s productivity and […]

Is Our World in a State of Tamei-ness of Tzaraat?

On the surface, this week’s Parasha, called Metzorah, refers to a physical malady, a continuation of last week’s theme of the concept of Tamei, often translated as impurity. Many commentators reject this sole translation of Tamei, teaching that the malady also indicates a defect in our consciousness and spirit. This […]

Parsha Tazria and the Maladies of the World

The first several verses of Parsha Tazria describe a healing process for women postpartum. How does this fit into the narrative of Leviticus? Much of Leviticus, until now, describes in great detail the use of animal offerings to cleanse the soul, to pray for peace and express gratitude for life. […]

Taanit Tzibar Gathering in Support of Ukraine People

I offered the following message today, March 16, at the Taanit Tzibor Gathering across the street from the Russian Federation Embassy. A little over 100 people came out. “Welcome. Thank you all for taking time today to be here. Across Wisconsin Ave. is an embassy whose leaders are guilty of […]

Modern Day Haman and Fasting

This Shabbat is called Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath of Remembrance. What are we remembering? Coming just a few days before Purim, we recall the story from Deuteronomy describing the ruthless attacks by Amalek on the women, children, and elderly in the Sinai wilderness. Unfortunately, we don’t need to remember Amalek […]

Purim and Parsha Pekudey

Our hearts are with the people of Ukraine. We pray that Putin cease this outrageous aggression. It is an aggression against humanity and democracy and the earth on which they also trample. It is a threat to all of us and, also, to Russian citizens themselves. A new Haman desecrates […]