Friday, December 29, 2006

Parsha Vayigash - The Big Flip

We begin with Judah pleading that Joseph take him into slavery in the place of his younger brother Benjamin. Joseph is moved. Then like Martin Landau in the old Mission Impossible TV series, Joseph finally ends the cruel deceptions and reveals his true identity to his stunned brothers. All 70 members of daddy Jacob's household relocate to Egypt, though the patriarch himself remains thankless and complaining. In all, it's a very happy almost ending to Joseph's saga. Except of course for the minor problem that Joseph delivers the Egyptians into landless poverty and feudal slavery. But then, this is not their story.


Turning tables

Friday, December 22, 2006

Parsha Mikeitz

Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

Joseph was always Jacob's favorite, the son his beloved wife Rachel. Rabbi Reiss says after Rachel's death Jacob substitutes Joseph as an "object of his special affection." In this comic we imagine that once Jacob believes Joseph dead, Benjamin becomes the object of Jacob's special affection.

Meanwhile, back in Egypt, Joseph decides to have a bit of savagely cruel fun at the expense of his father and siblings. - SHABBAT SHALOM! - a & s

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Hazing Gone Wrong

Joseph's brothers did not sell him into slavery. Judah suggested it, but no one agreed. The bros, violent knuckleheads that they were, threw Joseph down a dry well, then ate lunch. Can you blame them? Between his pompous dreams and Jacob's favoritism, we'd have hated Joseph too! This parsha also tells another story. In it Judah thinks he's sleeping with a prostitute, but is really boinking (and impregnating) his daughter-in-law, Tamar. Our hero, Rabbi Moshe Reiss, explains.

Our telling begins with Joseph tossed down a hole because of his dreams and interpretations. It ends with him thrown into a prison cell with guys who needed their dreams interpreted.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Parsha Vayishlach - Gangstas in Parsha

Welcome to the thug parsha. Jacob’s sons are not just old school gangstas, they are Old Testament! Dina must have despised them. She's hanging with her posse and the prince appears. Of all the girls, he chooses her. He sweeps her up, whisks her away and takes her, apparently not against her will. He falls madly in love, lays his kingdom at her feet and promises eternal romance. Then her brothers kill him.

This parsha is also a wonderful example of peacemaking and its dangers. Shechem, his father Hamor and their community did their best to avoid violence. Like Jacob they offered gifts and kind words. They showed genuine remorse. Esau accepted the propitiation. Simeon and Levi, violent, unloving sleazeballs that they are, did not.

Here's to Esau. Like so many other Torah "villains" he proves himself the most righteous of the bunch.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Parsha Vayeitzei - Laban the mensch

Laban is the real hero of this parsha, despite getting dissed by the rabbis. When he hears Jacob is near he runs to greet him, hugs and kisses him. Rashi say Laban was checking Jacob's mouth for jewels, which means, I guess, Laban gave him tongue. He performs the highest act of righteousness for the penniless Jacob by giving him a job. He scams Jacob into working fourteen years which, for Jacob, "seemed but a few days." In return, Laban gives his nephew his most valuable possessions, his two daughters. Had Jacob gotten is wish and only married Rachel, Israel would have been a much smaller tribe. Rachel bore only two sons (and needed a fertility drug for that) and her maid Bilhah had two. Leah, on the other hand, had seven of Jacob's children (including his only daughter, Dina) and her maid Zilpah added two more.

This is probably the happiest story in the Torah so far. Jacob ends up with everything guys could want: sex and wealth in abundance and true love to boot!

BTW - There is a truly wonderful movie about next week's parsha that we HIGHLY RECOMMEND. - SHABBAT SHALOM! - a & s

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Parsha Toldot - Rebecca Steps up

Beloved Sibling,

Last week we met Rebecca, the Torah's most precocious three-year-old bride. She married forty-year-old (and apparently not-so-sharp) Isaac. This week, in parsha Toldot, Rebecca becomes a full-fledged matriarch. She has a terrible pregnancy, but G-d (in the first revelation to a woman) tells her she's carrying twin sons, Jacob and Esau, who are slugging it out in her womb. G-d tells her the older will serve the younger.

Esau, the first-born, is a ruddy, manly man. Had there been iron-age beer commercials, he'd have been a star. He's a hunter, a lover (he has three wives) and a great son to Isaac. Esau kills stuff, then cooks it up just the way dad likes. Jacob is mama's boy. He stays home, studies, cooks (probably quiche) and he has smooth skin. One day, crafty Jacob takes advantage of Esau's hunger after a hunt and persuades him to sell his first-born rights and privileges for a bowl of bean stew.

Isaac gets old and feels like he's going to die. He decides to have Esau hunt him a nice meal, then give his BIG blessing to his favorite son. But Rebecca overhears Isaac's plan and launches her own. She persuades reluctant Jacob to go along and designs an Esau costume to trick Isaac. Incredibly, the ruse works: Esau is disinherited and G*d gets his way again.

Poor Isaac, the one thing in the world that's truly his, the paternal blessing, he is tricked out of giving to his favorite son by the woman he married when she was three.

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving reminds us of the power and perils of food. - SHABBAT SHALOM! - a & s

Friday, November 17, 2006

Chayei Sarah - The Sweetest Story Ever Told

We LOVE the story of Isaac. It's unquestionably our fav so far. You got a VERY slow kid with a goofy laugh. His mom was maybe 90 years old when she gives birth to Isaac so Down's Syndrome seems a pretty high probability. He doesn't talk much. His brother makes fun of him. His father tries to kill him. He can't even chase girls for himself.

His father Abraham leaves him a huge pile of money and makes his trusted servent Eliezer, swear on his (Abraham's) old, wrinkled testicles, to find the perfect girl for Isaac, who is by now nearly forty. Eliezer find this beautiful, kind and hard working three year old, Rebecca. After some negotiating Eliezer gets Rebecca away from her no account family and brings her back to Isaac who is out in field doing... G-d knows what.

Rebecca is so shocked when she sees her goofball betrothed she nearly falls off her camel. But Isaac loves her. He moves Rebecca into his mommy's tent and they become husband and wife.

We know that later Rebecca is clearly the brains of the family and ends up manipulating Isaac in a most crude way. Nonetheless as the Torah's most precocious little girl she is the ideal match for a mentally challenged middle aged man.

At least that's the way it is when WE tell the story. - SHABBAT SHALOM! - a & s

Friday, November 10, 2006

Parsha Vayera

This week Torah portion is an action-packed affair. G#d appears to Abraham in the form of three men. Abraham seems to serve them one of the most traif meals imaginable and we get history's earliest recorded punch line. The ugly side of gay love rears... its head... in Sodom. Lot's daughters make sure the family comes first. A part of the parsha we didn't take on is another episode in Abraham's successful career as a pimp. Some years later he prepares to sacrifice Isaac whence many believe Christianity got the idea of sacrificing one's beloved son. Of course if old JC were here today, observant Jew that he was, he would join us in wishing you - SHABBAT SHALOM! - a & s

Friday, November 03, 2006

Parsha Lech Lecha

In his book "Gifts of the Jews" Thomas Cahill writes that Judaism is 'the only original idea in all of human history.' Outside Judaism history is viewed as a circle with peoples ascending to nobility, falling into depravity then repeating the cycle. But, writes Cahill, when Abraham (in this week's parsha) crosses into the promised land, Judaism invents the unknown further and all innovation, change, improvement even the ideas of progress flow from that. As Jews we can only say, "Works for us!" - SHABBAT SHALOM!

a & s

Friday, October 27, 2006

Parsha Noach

Last week it was beastiality. Now it's homosexual incest. Next week we've got prostitution and STDs. Boy, I sure am glad the Christian right doesn't know about this book! On the other hand the sex and violence and perversion sure make for a great read. Shabbat Shalom.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Parsha Bereishit

And we're off!

We have read and heard the creation story a whole bunch of times. We had read much about Adam's first wife, Lilith. But we never noticed that after declaring that Adam should not be alone, G-d offered him a parade of animals from which to choose a mate. If Bereishit is any indication the year ahead promises more surprises than you can shake a scroll at. Thanks VERY much for reading our comic. We are immensely grateful for your support.

a & s

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

Al Gore as Jonah

Al Gore is our comic hero this week. This is Shabbat Shuva and since seeing Gore's movie we have tried to redeem ourselves environmentally. Thus, he gets our nod as Jonah the Green. Come to think of it, these days ol' Al looks like he could use a bit of fasting. As long as we're talking the Gorester, there's still a lot of good stuff happening over at

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Akeda

Whatever else you say, you've got to give us some props for the degree of difficulty of this one. The Hannukah story of Hannah and her sons is violent and tragic. In one version of the tale, after her first six sons are slaughtered, Hannah tells her youngest and last surviving son that when he meets Abraham he should inform the patriarch that she had performed a scarifice even greater than his.

We didn't know much about Judaism and martyrs, and still don't. But we now remember that Judiasm, the civil rights movement, the American revolution and darn near everything else worth struggling for has its martyrs.

In our fantasies, maybe we'd respond to a existential challenge the way Hannah did. Then again, the great taste of ham is also from G-d.

But if there is a special section for martyrs in olam haba (the world to come), Hannah should be queen of it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Parsha Ki Tavo

One section of this week's portion of the Hebrew bible reads like Karl Rove on meth. Nightmares that make 9/11 look like Barney will devour Israel if it fails to stay the Biblical course. This parsha (portion) also includes a midrash, a story associated with the parsha, that raises a charming vision of a world where everybody follows the same rules.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Parsha Ki Teitzei

war, occupation,justice kill, execute, Israel torah parsha love marriage, comics, comix, cartoon, jewish, judaica, art, statues, figures, bible, tenach, dating, middle east

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Parsha Shoftim

war, occupation,justice kill, execute, Israel torah parsha love marriage, comics, comix, cartoon, jewish, judaica, art, statues, figures, bible tenach

Friday, August 18, 2006

Parsha Re'eh

idol, moleck, moloch god of fire, idolotry, kill, execute, stone, stoning Israel torah parsha love marriage, comics, comix, cartoon, jewish, judaica, art, statues, figures,

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006