Archive | July, 2015
10 Jul

Rabbi Ed Bernstein


Pinchas is the Torah’s “Dark Knight.” He is a vigilante who takes the law into his own hands. When the Israelites were seduced into a mass orgy by the Moabites, God and Moses are incensed. Pinchas is too and pushes the envelope by stabbing to death a prominent Israelite man and Moabite woman who are copulating in public. Parashat Pinchas begins with God rewarding Pinchas, grandson of Aaron the High Priest, with a Brit Shalom, a Covenant of Peace. The rabbis struggle to justify this reward when Pinchas acted outside of any legal jurisdiction to take such action. In the Jerusalem Talmud the rabbis go so far as to say that Pinchas should have been excommunicated were it not for God’s own intervention. Batman is a similarly complex figure who stands for justice but operates outside the established legal system. A Batman tie, therefore, seems apt this week.

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#TieBlog #Balak #BalaamandTalkingDonkey

3 Jul

Rabbi Ed Bernstein

Shrek and his talking donkey friend are reminiscent of Balaam and the talking donkey. Shrek and his talking donkey friend are reminiscent of Balaam and the talking donkey.

Balak, King of Moab, seeks a cost-efficient means to destroy the Israelites and hires Balaam, wizard extraordinaire, to curse Israel. It’s puzzling that rather than bless his own people, Balak sought to curse another. In today’s world, too often people’s hatred of others is greater than their love of themselves.

In the meantime, every time Balaam the Wizard-For-Hire goes to curse the Israelites, out of his mouth come warm blessings. Balaam is not pleased by his performance that God has caused, and he takes his frustrations out on his donkey–who talks back to him! You can read the dramatic exchange below. As you do, take a look at my tie of the week. You may want to picture in your mind Shrek (voiced by Mike Meyers) as Balaam and the donkey (as voiced by Eddie…

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