Friday, August 21, 2009

Animated Torah! presents animated commentaries on the weekly Torah portions. From the website:
G-dcast: a weekly cartoon about the story Jews are reading in the Torah right now. A different writer tells the parsha in 4 minutes: some are stories, others are country songs or hip hop! Then we animate it. Whether you already know the story, or this is totally new stuff, you'll meet 54 new voices this year.
This is a great idea; the animation is clear and simple - and entertaining! - and the variety of speakers present many interesting perspectives.

I got a lot out of this week's parsha, Shoftim, which reminds us "Justice, Justice you shall pursue!" I've been reading a lot of anti-religion books lately, and after a barrage of accusations against Judaism about child abuse, fear mongering, racism, war, and hatred it becomes hard to remember the bright and beautiful parts of our religion. In his video Rabbi Saperstein discusses the five types of justice:
  • Establish judges
  • Rules for rulers
  • Cities of refuge
  • Rules for witnesses
  • Rules for war

In the last section he reminds us that when it was time for war, any man who had built a house, planted a vineyard, or gotten engaged but had not lived in, harvested, or married (as appropriate) was sent home. This is one of the beautiful parts of Judaism; beyond the rituals and debate about trivialities they engender, there is a truly wonderful commitment to justice at the core of our religion. We must take care to never lose sight of it.

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