For the Love of a Butterfly


If we refuse to be alert to the needs of the earth, the earth will refuse to be alert to ours. The wolves also must eat. So must the spiders. And the mosquitoes. And the butterflies. There is a time and place for new understandings of ancient texts. If ever there were such a time, it is now.

*Note: I know that’s not a monarch in that picture!

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ACHREI MOT & KEDOSHIM (Leviticus 16:1 - 20:27)

Everything we have ever been as a people informs who we are and who we will become, but it isn’t predictive. We aren’t made to be predictable. We are created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, holy because God is holy, made to be . . . creative. We hold our tradition and our traditions close, but we have also survived because we have embraced changes.  

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What's In A Name


My perception of Vayachel-Pekudei is forever shaped by my memories of a young woman developing her voice and claiming her own style of leadership, of the sweet, plump cheeks of a baby who needed to come in his own time – even though some of us worried that it was maybe a little early, of his mother’s hand on the top of his big brother’s head, and of his father’s intense and loving eyes gazing down at him.

With his parents’ permission, I share with you the words I shared with him.

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In-Laws and Out-Laws

YITRO EXODUS 18:1 - 20:23

Yitro brought Moses’s wife and sons, Gershom and Eliezar, to the base of the mountain where the people of Israel were encamped. (Exodus 18:6) In a scene as loving and touching and familial as any between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, when they arrived, Moses went out to greet his father-in-law, bowed low, and kissed him.

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Amy ArielComment
Of Hope and Timbrels

BESHALACH EXODUS 13:17 - 17:16

We read it now knowing how the story is going to end. We know they will get out, we know they will be free. We know they are going to dance. We know. We must remember that they did not know. And they packed their timbrels anyway. 

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Amy Ariel Comments
No in Bo

BO EXODUS 10:1 - 13:16

The “no” of the Jewish people was “No, we don’t want to be slaves.”
The “no” of Pharaoh was “No, I will not listen to you, I will not hear you.”

From the story in this week’s Torah portion, we can learn that like Moses and Aaron and the Jewish people in Egypt, we can keep saying “No” in all the ways we need to until we are heard. And we can remember not to be like Pharaoh. We can hear someone else’s “No”.

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I Know You

VAYIGASH GENESIS 44:18 - 47:27


In the United States, every 2 seconds, someone needs blood. But mine is a cancer story. What does cancer have to do with blood? What does blood have to do with Joseph? And why is that picture of little me with a goat?

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Amy ArielComment