August 9, 2018 – Re’eh

This week’s parashah is called Re’eh. You will find it in the Book of Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17. The parashah touches on a number of themes. Among these are: the need to pay taxes (tithes), the idea of the false prophet, the Shmitah year (when the land is to lay fallow), laws concerning servitude, and the three… View Article

July 29, 2018 – Dvarim and VaEtchanan

Two weeks ago we began our yearly reading of the Torah’s fifth book, Sefer Dvarim or as it is known in English, “ The Book of Deuteronomy.” Because last week we studied the meaning of the Holiday of “Tishah b’Av” now we turn to the first two of Deuteronomy’s weekly sections. In a sense Parashat… View Article

July 19, 2018 – Tishah b’Av

Most nations mark their national successes and gloss over their national failures. Jews are different. Not only do we take the time to mark great moments, such as Passover, in Jewish history, but we also take the time to observe national days of failure. The Jewish calendar, reflecting life itself, is a mixture of sweetness… View Article

July 1, 2018 – Pinchas

This week’s parashah is “Pinchas.” You will find it in the Book of Numbers 25:10-30:1. It is a fascinating section dealing with two opposite personalities, that of Pinchas (Phinehas in English) and of Tzilfchod (Zelophehad in English). It also has a great deal to teach us who live in a period of great political turmoil… View Article

June 21 & 28, 2018 – Chukat and Balak

Because next week I will not be able to write about Parashat Balak, this week we will examine both Parashat Chukat (Numbers: 19:1-22:1) and also, Parashat Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9). Of the two, then first parashah, Chukat, is the less “interesting” to read. It deals with issues of water, for purification, for drinking, and as an… View Article

June 19, 2018 – Korach

This week’s Torah portion is found in Numbers 16:1-18:30. This parashah is the most famous of the revolt sections. It tells the story of Korach’s attempted coup d’état. Within the Torah’s five books, this is the most politically charged text, and in a time such as ours, with great political divisions throughout the land, it… View Article

June 7, 2018 – Shalach L’chah

This week we turn to the section of the Book of Numbers known as “Shalach L’chah”. You will find it in Numbers 13:1-15:41. The parashah’s name is poorly translated into English as “Send forth”. The Hebrew reader will immediately note the inadequacy of this translation. While “Shlach” does mean: “send” the second word (l’chah) being… View Article

May 31, 2018 – B’haalotechah

This week’s parashah (Book of Numbers 8:1-12:16) is called “B’haalotechah.” The name means “when you raise yourself up” and the name teaches us a great deal about its themes. The parashah is another long section. In this week’s section, we find a weary Moses. He has dealt with non-stop complaining and although the text is… View Article

May 24, 2018 – Naso

You can find Parashat Naso in the Book of Numbers 4:21 and the parashah ends at 7:89. It is a section dealing with unique personalities. For example, the parashah is the only place in Jewish law where there is a trial by ordeal. This trial-by-ordeal centers around the theme of the woman who is suspected of… View Article

May 17, 2018 – Ba’Midbar

This week we begin our study of the Bible’s fourth book, Sefer Ba’Midbar or as it is called in English, the Book of Numbers, even though the Hebrew name is “The Book of the Desert”. We may call the Bible’s third book, Leviticus, a book of theory. Leviticus presents itself to us as a book… View Article