In this Book

Torah Queeries
summary

In the Jewish tradition, reading of the Torah follows a calendar cycle, with a specific portion assigned each week. These weekly portions, read aloud in synagogues around the world, have been subject to interpretation and commentary for centuries. Following on this ancient tradition, Torah Queeries brings together some of the world’s leading rabbis, scholars, and writers to interpret the Torah through a "bent lens". With commentaries on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and six major Jewish holidays, the concise yet substantive writings collected here open up stimulating new insights and highlight previously neglected perspectives.

This incredibly rich collection unites the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight-allied writers, including some of the most central figures in contemporary American Judaism. All bring to the table unique methods of reading and interpreting that allow the Torah to speak to modern concerns of sexuality, identity, gender, and LGBT life. Torah Queeries offers cultural critique, social commentary, and a vision of community transformation, all done through biblical interpretation. Written to engage readers, draw them in, and, at times, provoke them, Torah Queeries examines topics as divergent as the Levitical sexual prohibitions, the experience of the Exodus, the rape of Dinah, the life of Joseph, and the ritual practices of the ancient Israelites. Most powerfully, the commentaries here chart a future of inclusion and social justice deeply rooted in the Jewish textual tradition.

A labor of intellectual rigor, social justice, and personal passions, Torah Queeries is an exciting and important contribution to the project of democratizing Jewish communities, and an essential guide to understanding the intersection of queerness and Jewishness.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-ix
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Introduction: Interpreting the Bible through a Bent Lens
  2. pp. 1-8
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  1. Part I Bereshit, The Book of Genesis
  2. p. 9
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  1. 1. Male and Female God Created Them: Parashat Bereshit (Genesis 1:1–6:8)
  2. pp. 11-18
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  1. 2. From Delight to Destruction: The Double-Faced Power of Sex: Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9–11:32)
  2. pp. 19-23
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  1. 3. Going to and Becoming Ourselves: Transformation and Covenants in Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1–17:27)
  2. pp. 24-28
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  1. 4. Looking Back to Look Forward: Parashat Vayera (Genesis 18:1–22:24)
  2. pp. 29-33
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  1. 5. When Gender Varies: A Curious Case of Kere and Ketiv Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1–25:18)
  2. pp. 34-37
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  1. 6. Esau’s Gender Crossing: Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19–28:9)
  2. pp. 38-42
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  1. 7. And Jacob Came Out: Parashat Vayetzei (Genesis 28:10–32:3)
  2. pp. 43-46
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  1. 8. Biblical Sex: Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4–36:43)
  2. pp. 47-52
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  1. 9. Joseph’s Fabulous Technicolor Dreamcoat: Parashat Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1–40:23)
  2. pp. 53-59
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  1. 10. Yusuf Come Home: Parashat Miketz (Genesis 41:1–44:17)
  2. pp. 60-63
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  1. 11. Forgiveness as a Queer Response: Parashat Vayigash (Genesis 44:18–47:27)
  2. pp. 64-67
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  1. 12. Uncovering Joseph’s Bones: Parashat Vayechi (Genesis 47:28–50:26)
  2. pp. 68-72
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  1. Part II Shemot, The Book of Exodus
  2. p. 73
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  1. 13. Making Noise for Social Change: Parashat Shemot (Exodus 1:1–6:1)
  2. pp. 75-79
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  1. 14. Uncircumcized Lips: Parashat Vaeira (Exodus 6:2–9:35)
  2. pp. 80-84
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  1. 15. The Ritual of Storytelling: Parashat Bo (Exodus 10:1–13:16)
  2. pp. 85-88
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  1. 16. Into Life: The Humanism of the Exodus: Parashat Beshalach (Exodus 13:17–17:16)
  2. pp. 89-92
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  1. 17. The Necessity of Windows: Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:1–20:26)
  2. pp. 93-97
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  1. 18. Laws and Judgments as a “Bridge to a Better World”: Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1–24:18)
  2. pp. 98-101
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  1. 19. Building an Inclusive Social Space: Parashat Terumah (Exodus 25:1–27:19)
  2. pp. 102-105
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  1. 20. When the Fabulous Is Holy: Parashat Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20—30:10)
  2. pp. 106-108
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  1. 21. Mounting Sinai: Parashat Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11–34:35)
  2. pp. 109-112
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  1. 22. Listening to Heart-Wisdom: Parashat Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1–38:20)
  2. pp. 113-116
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  1. 23. A Knack for Design: Parashat Pekudei (Exodus 38:21–40:38)
  2. pp. 117-120
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  1. Part III Vayikra, The Book of Leviticus
  2. p. 121
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  1. 24. Bodily Perfection in the Sanctuary: Parashat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1–5:26)
  2. pp. 123-128
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  1. 25. HaNer Tamid, dos Pintele Yid v’ha Zohar Muzar: The Eternal Flame, the Jewish Spark, and the Flaming Queer: Parashat Tsav (Leviticus 6:1–8:36)
  2. pp. 129-134
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  1. 26. Nadav and Avihu and Dietary Laws: A Case of Action and Reaction: Parashat Shemini (Leviticus 9:1–11:47)
  2. pp. 135-139
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  1. 27. Nagu’a: Touched by the Divine: Parashat Tazri’a (Leviticus 12:1–13:59)
  2. pp. 140-144
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  1. 28. It’s the Purity, Stupid: Reading Leviticus in Context: Parashat Metzora (Leviticus 14:1–15:33)
  2. pp. 145-150
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  1. 29. How Flexible Can Jewish Law Be? Parashat Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1–18:30)
  2. pp. 151-156
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  1. 30. Sex in the Talmud: How to Understand Leviticus 18 and 20: Parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1–20:27)
  2. pp. 157-169
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  1. 31. Fear Factor: Lesbian Sex and Gay Men: Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21:1–24:23)
  2. pp. 170-173
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  1. 32. Neither Oppress nor Allow Others to Oppress You: Parashat Behar (Leviticus 25:1–26:2)
  2. pp. 174-178
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  1. Part IV Bemidbar, The Book of Numbers
  2. p. 185
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  1. 34. How to Construct a Community: Parashat Bemidbar (Numbers 1:1–4:20)
  2. pp. 187-191
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  1. 35. From Impurity to Blessing: Parashat Naso (Numbers 4:21–7:89)
  2. pp. 192-196
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  1. 36. Setting the Stage for Pluralistic Judaism: Parashat Beha’alotecha (Numbers 8:1–12:16)
  2. pp. 197-198
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  1. 37. Ruach Acheret—Ruach Hakodesh/Different Spirit—Sacred Spirit: Parashat Shelach (Numbers 13:1–15:41)
  2. pp. 199-201
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  1. 38. Torah and Its Discontents: Parashat Korach (Numbers 16:1–18:32)
  2. pp. 202-205
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  1. 39. The Healing Serpent: Recovering Long Lost Jewish Fragments: Parashat Hukkat (Numbers 19:1–22:1)
  2. pp. 206-211
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  1. 40. Between Beast and Angel: The Queer, Fabulous Self: Parashat Balak (Numbers 22:2–25:10)
  2. pp. 212-215
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  1. 41. Pinchas, Zimri, and the Channels of Divine Will: Parashat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10–30:1)
  2. pp. 216-219
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  1. 42. Going Ahead: Parashat Matot (Numbers 30:2–32:42)
  2. pp. 220-223
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  1. 43. Hearing Ancient, Courageous Voices for Justice and Change: Parashat Masei (Numbers 33:1–36:13)
  2. pp. 224-228
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  1. Part V Devarim, The Book of Deuteronomy
  2. p. 229
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  1. 44 From Whom Do We Learn History? Why Queer Community Needs Texts More Than Other Communities: Parashat Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1–3:22)
  2. pp. 231-234
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  1. 45. Rethinking the Wicked “Son”: Parashat Vaetchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23–7:11)
  2. pp. 235-239
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  1. 46. Bind These Words: Parashat Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25)
  2. pp. 240-245
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  1. 47. Neither Adding nor Taking Away: Parashat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17)
  2. pp. 246-249
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  1. 48. Setting Ourselves Judges: Parashat Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9)
  2. pp. 250-253
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  1. 49. To Wear Is Human, to Live—Divine: Parashat Ki Tetse (Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19)
  2. pp. 254-258
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  1. 50. In a New Country: Parashat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8)
  2. pp. 259-262
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  1. 51. Embodied Jews: Parashat Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20)
  2. pp. 263-266
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  1. 52. “Be Strong and Resolute”: Parashat Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30)
  2. pp. 267-270
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  1. 53. Dor l’Dor: Parashat Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1–52) 271
  2. pp. 271-276
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  1. 54. This Is the Blessing: The “First Openly Gay Rabbi” Reminisces: Parashat Zot Ha’bracha (Deuteronomy 33:1–34:12)
  2. pp. 277-282
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  1. Part VI Holiday Portions
  2. p. 283
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  1. 55. The Parade of Families: Rosh Hashanah
  2. pp. 285-289
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  1. 56. What Is Atonement? Yom Kippur
  2. pp. 290-293
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  1. 57. Strength through Diversity: Sukkot
  2. pp. 294-296
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  1. 58. Ad de’lo Yada: Until We Don’t Know the Difference: The Book of Esther and Purim
  2. pp. 297-300
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  1. 59. Liberation and Transgender Jews: Passover
  2. pp. 301-305
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  1. 60. Trance and Trans at Har Sinai: Shavu’ot
  2. pp. 306-310
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  1. The New Rabbis: A Postscript
  2. pp. 311-314
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 315-322
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 323-337
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