Posts Tagged 'Maroon 5'

An Open Invitation to Enter Faith ( or at least the discussion of it)

In  Va’Etchanan, this week’s Torah portion we read the first paragraph of the Sh’ma -the Jewish credo. There we read:

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the door-posts of your house, and upon your gates. (Deuteronomy 6: 4- 9)

These words are familiar to many of us. We rarely stop to think about what they mean. I am interested how this statement of creed is simultaneously the most private and intimate aspect of faith happening in our hearts as well as being the most public expression of identity being the Mezuzah on the door posts of our homes. While we are obligated to place this testament to our faith in every door-post in your house, today most Jews who still have a Mezuzah in their homes limit this practice to their front door. This makes this  juxtaposition even more interesting.

As a religious person I realize it is challenging to speak of our faith in public. As a Jewish person it is noteworthy that at this moment in history living where I live it is very easy to express my cultural identity. This point came clear to me when I was watching the video for Wait, a new song by Maroon 5. I know that Adam Levine the lead singer is Jewish, but this image from the video still caught my eye:


And this Mezuzah was from the doorway next to his kitchen, not even the front door. Wow, so frum? It seems to be that we have made it.

Even if we are not ready to have a conversion about the faith in our heart of hearts in public, maybe this is an invitation into a the conversation of faith. What would it mean to not be on the outside of our faith just looking at the Mezuzah? What would it look like to come on in and explore how our tradition might impact how we go about our day?

Animals: Balak and Maroon 5

In Balak, this week’s Torah portion, we read various stories regarding animals.   Long before we get to the climax of this story where Bilaam’s donkey talks to him, we meet Balak. There we read:

And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. ( Numbers 22:2)

Balak the king of Moav was afraid of the Israelites and  he sent messengers to Balaam. We wants this prophet to curse the Israelites.  But what is his name? Balak the son of Zippor- Balak the son of Bird. And of course this story of animals fits into the larger context of the book of Numbers where the people of Israel are acting like animals. We saw this last week from when they were being struck down by snakes and at the end of this week’s Torah portion when they succumb to animal-like sexual promiscuity. What do we make of all of this “parsha menagerie“?

To understand this we need to focus in on the story of the Bilaam’s donkey. In the story the donkey understood the Angel’s presence while Bilaam just did not understand. And Bilaam a prophet of God not only missed the Angel, but in the process also revealed his own ugly side by striking the donkey. Even this prophet who can see the will of God cannot see what the donkey can. A human being is the blend of divine and animal qualities. The question is how we choose to show up.

Even as the Israelites are spared the curse of Bilaam and instead are blessed, they are still cursed in the end by being seduced by the Moabite women.  This reminds me of Animals by Maroon 5.

In this super disturbing video a guy is obsessed with either an ex, or just a random woman (customer) in his life. He’s convinced he means as much to her as she does to him. The song seems to be celebrating their basic animal qualities. In the books of Numbers and in life we are animals, but we can decide to be so much more if we open ourselves up to see that.


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