Telephone Study: Blessings and Curses, Seeing and Becoming


Do we become what we see?  Can a change in our perception turn curses into blessings?  We’ll explore these questions and more in the weekly Torah portion, Ki Tavo (Deut. 26:1-29:8), Thursday, 4-5pm.

Parashat Ki Tavo

Fine-Tune Your Spiritual Hearing’ by Maggid Jhos Singer a witty and irreverent LGBT commentary on Ki Tavo

This week’s Torah Portion, Ki Tavo, reads like it might have been penned by Jimmy Swaggart and Charles Bukowski with just a little editing by Stephen King. It is the original ‘Hellfire and Brimstone’ rant to which all others pale in comparison. Its images of damnation know no bounds; It is one of those bits o’ Bible that has fueled the hateful lust of bigots and fundamentalists for centuries. I would go so far as to call it scriptural porn. It’s the stuff that usually makes folks like me, a genderqueer Berkeley liberal Jew, run screaming from Judaism, so it’s kind of odd to admit that I love this portion. It’s scary and exciting and makes me feel like I’m watching a really weird piece of performance art. The trick with this portion is staying cool, not reacting to the surface level ugliness and instead tuning into the God in it. When I read it I try to imagine that I’m hearing a song on a static-ravaged transistor radio, I’m standing amidst a huge noisy crowd, I’m getting jostled around, nearby some wild-eyed preacher is raving into a microphone, Cursed are you sinner, you will burn for Eternity, you are a perversion, people are yelling back, I hold the radio up to my ear straining to hear and little by little the song cuts through the din and a big smile spreads across my face… Welcome to this week’s parasha. Read in full here

Suggested Verses of the Week.

1. “Blessed shall you be in your comings and blessed shall you be in your goings.”  (Deut. 28:6)
2.“Cursed be the one who subverts the rights of the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.  And all the people say, Amen.”  (Deut. 27:19)
3. “Look down from Your holy abode, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the soil You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our ancestors.” (Deut.26:15)

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