Torah from Around the World
Published by The World Union for Progressive Judaism
July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz 5775
By: Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs, Former World Union president, author of What’s in It for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives, and Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel, West Hartford, CT, USA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his website.
So many times, I have heard rabbis or Cantors announce, “We begin our service with Mah Tovu!” And then the rabbi, Cantor, choir and congregation or some combination of those resources begin to sing: “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!“ (Numbers 24:5)
As thinking Jews, and especially as Progressive Jews, we should not be content to simply intone our prayers mindlessly.
We will enrich ourselves and our worship if we make the effort to understand what they mean, what their literary-historical context is…