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		                                    Thinking Torah Blog		                                </span>

11/10/2022 05:00:00 PM


Rabbi Josh Whinston

Do you want to hear about my Sabbatical plans? Keep reading!

Even with a surface reading of the Torah, it is easy to see that the Torah isn’t always interested in the same issues we are interested in today. Information we find pertinent and informative is often missing in the Torah text. One of the classic examples of this is concerning traveling. The journey is often skipped entirely in the Torah narrative, a person sets out on a trip, and the next we know, they have arrived without any mention of the intermediate days. This lack of details is precisely what happens in this week’s Torah portion when Abraham sets out to sacrifice Isaac. We read in the Torah, “Abraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and he set out for the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place from afar.” The lack of information allows the rabbis to create midrash and explore what might have happened. Still, the fundamental question of why the original authors were not concerned with this narrative aspect remains open.

On the other hand, we spend countless hours expounding upon the journey. It is interesting to notice the difference between ourselves and our ancestors and wonder what has changed. Speaking of journeys, I know many folks in the congregation are curious about my upcoming sabbatical. My family and I will be leaving on our trip soon. We will be spending the first two months of the sabbatical in Israel. Our kids will work on conversational Hebrew and explore the sights with Sarah and me. We hope they get to know Israel, with all its beauty and flaws, as more than just tourists. I will also be taking Hebrew classes and working on my Talmud skills. In March, we will leave Israel for Europe as we make our way from Budapest, where Sarah has family, and then off to Italy and France. The European leg of the trip is still very much in formation, and I hope to give the congregation one or two updates while we are abroad. We are all very excited about this experience and the learning that will come with it. We are grateful to the congregation for making this possible.

Sun, March 3 2024 23 Adar I 5784