Parashat D’varim – August 10, 2019 – 9 Tammuz 5779

August 8th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat D’varim – August 10, 2019 – 9 Tammuz 5779

Thoughts on Prayer and Tragedy   We are forced this weekend to face multiple tragedies. As Americans, we must cope yet again with the spectre of gun violence on a mass scale. As of writing, the massacre in Texas was reportedly carried out by an anti-immigrant terrorist. Much closer to home, in the nearby city of [...]

Parashat Matot-Masei – August 3, 2019 – 2 Tammuz 5779

August 1st, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Matot-Masei – August 3, 2019 – 2 Tammuz 5779

This week we learn that although each tribe will receive territory in the Land of Israel, the tribe of Levi will not. Instead, the tribe of Levi will be assigned 48 towns located amongst the various other tribes. Why? According to the rabbis, the tribe of Levi did not experience the full pain of Egyptian servitude [...]

Parashat Pinchas – July 27, 2019 – 24 Tammuz 5779

July 26th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Pinchas – July 27, 2019 – 24 Tammuz 5779

This week's Torah portion opens with the second census of the aptly named "Book of Numbers." God, it seems, enjoys counting us. Talmudic law, on the other hand, following the disastrous consequences of a census taken much later by King David, forbids counting any group of Jews. What's up with the issue of counting?   In [...]

Parashat Bechukotai – June 1, 2019 – 27 Iyar 5779

May 31st, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Bechukotai – June 1, 2019 – 27 Iyar 5779

We find the Hebrew roots for “Shabbat” and “desolation” each repeated in this week’s Torah Portion seven times in a single 6 verse passage. “Desolation” is repeatedly referred to as a Shabbat for the Land of Israel. Shabbat is meant to be a day of wonder and happiness. What aspect of Shabbat could be construed as [...]

Parashat Behar – May 25, 2019 – 20 Iyar 5779

May 24th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Behar – May 25, 2019 – 20 Iyar 5779

This week’s Torah portion repeatedly instructs us to be mindful and generous with a kinsman who has fallen on hard times, even to the extent of paying to redeem him from indentured servitude or to restoring him his forfeited property. This could get expensive, so naturally kinsmen of means will have to be persuaded to step [...]

Parashat Emor – May 18, 2019 – 13 Iyar 5779

May 16th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Emor – May 18, 2019 – 13 Iyar 5779

According to Jewish Law, if a kohain (a descendent of the family of Aaron, the first High Priest of Israel) is present at a Torah Reading, he is entitled to the first aliyah (the honor of being called to the first portion being read). The Mishnah explains that the rational for this practice is to preserve [...]

Parashat Kedoshim – May 11, 2019 – 6 Iyar 5779

May 10th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Kedoshim – May 11, 2019 – 6 Iyar 5779

“Kadosh” means “holy” or to be “separated from.” This week’s Torah portion is called Kedoshim. In it, the Jewish People are referred to as “kadosh”/”holy” three times. Each time, the bible repeats that the people are holy because their God is holy. There is a prayer, called the Kedusha, which features the threefold repetition of the [...]

Parashat Acharei Mot – May 4, 2019 – 29 Nisan 5779

May 6th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Acharei Mot – May 4, 2019 – 29 Nisan 5779

In this week’s parasha, we are told, “You shall carry out my judgments and keep my laws in order to walk in them…” (Vayikra/Lev. 18:4) What is the implication of “to walk” in God’s laws? At the time of the exodus from Egypt, we found ourselves facing the sea on the one side and the advancing [...]