December 14, 2018 – VaYigash

This week’s Torah portion is called VaYigash. You will find it in the book of Genesis. 44:18-47:27.  The parashah deals with the reuniting of Joseph and his family.  To understand this section better, let us recap the Joseph story until this point. We pick up the storyline after Joseph’s brothers, who were jealous of him,… View Article

November 30, 2018 – Hanukkah

This year at sunset, on the night of December 2, we began our annual celebration of the first of our post-biblical celebrations. The biblical text does not talk about the Hanukkah holiday and what we know about it comes to us through non-biblical sources. We have much of what we know about the origins of Hanukkah… View Article

November 16, 2018 – Vayetzei

This coming Sabbath, November 17, we study the parashah called “Vayetzei”.  You will find this weekly section in the Book of Genesis 25:10-31:3.  In it, we read about the first of Jacob’s dreams, a dream that contains the famous vignette of Jacob’s ladder. As is typical of dreams, we see how Jacob’s subliminal fears and… View Article

November 9, 2018 – Toldot

The name of this week’s Parashah (Torah portion) is “Toldot,” and you will find it in the Book of Genesis 25:19-28:9. Toldot literally means “generations” although the word is often used to express the idea of “history” Perhaps the best translation (or at least my favorite) is “generations come and go”. Traditionally many scholars have… View Article

November 1, 2018 – Chaye-Sarah

You will find this week’s Torah portion, Chaye-Sarah in the book of Genesis 23:1-25:18. Its name is one of the more ironic titles. Called “Chaye-Sarah meaning the “Life of Sarah” it provides details of Israel’s first matriarch’s death and burial. Having “buried” Sarah the text moves onto her “replacement”. Rebecca will now become Israel’s second… View Article

October 25, 2018 – VaYera

This week’s parashah is one of world history’s great literary vignettes.  In the parashah, everything in it is open to interpretation, and nothing in it seems as it really is.  We can study this week’s parashah forever and still not know it.  To add to its literary mystery, the Hebrew used is so profound that… View Article

October 18, 2018 – Lech L’Chah

With the reading of Parashat Lech L’chah we go from what is called “pre-history” to “history”. You will find this week’s parashah in the Book of Genesis 12:1-17:26. It is a long section that deals not only with Abraham’s entrance into the “Land of Israel,” but also insights into the man’s character and personality. The… View Article

October 11, 2018 – Noach

This week’s parashah is the second of what Biblical scholars classify as “pre-history.” Last week we studied the creation stories found in the first weekly section called: “Bresheet”. This first parashah ends with the first acts of terrorism, the mass murders committed by Lemech. Lemech not only committed mass-murder but also bragged about his exploits…. View Article

October 4, 2018 – Braysheet

With the close of the month of Tishrei we once again turn to our weekly Torah readings. The challenge of reading the text yearly and constantly finding new interpretations and meanings to an ancient text is both arduous and exhilarating. In a sense, this constant rereading of the text reminds us that moderns fail when… View Article

September 28, 2018 – Simchat Torah

Monday night, September 30, we bring the holiday season to a close with Simchat Torah celebrations. Simchat Torah adds the last piece to the lessons learned during this holiday season. During the holy month of Tishre we have celebrated four distinct holidays, each teaching us a different lesson. Rosh Ha’Shanah is the holiday when we… View Article