Sidrahs

Ekev

By Rabbi Josh Levy, August 14, 2014

With average life expectancy during the biblical period of around 30 years, it is unsurprising that the Bible seems unaware of the challenges presented by dementia. Biblical characters reach old age with their faculties undiminished; the biblical authors had little experience of progressive cognitive degeneration.

More..

Va'etchanan

By Rabbi Barry Lerer, August 7, 2014

Moses stood on Mt Nebo looking at the Land of Israel and he prayed in 515 different ways, trying to find a way that would change God's mind and let him in to the Holy Land.

He begged God to let him be a bird or even a stone, anything that would let him enter into the Land of Israel.

More..

Devarim

By Dr Annette Boeckler, July 31, 2014

In a competitive society, we are supposed to focus on success and strength.

More..

Massei

By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, July 24, 2014

History is replete with political super-entities crumbling back to constituent parts under the pressure of tribalism. Today it is the Middle East, yesterday the Balkans.

The project of Bemidbar, the forging of a nation from disparate tribes, appears to have fallen short at the finishing line.

More..

Mattot

By Lindsay Simmonds, July 17, 2014

At this point in the journey through the wilderness, the Torah tells us that the tribes of Gad and Reuben had many cattle.

More..

Pinchas

By Rabbi Josh Levy, July 10, 2014

What to do with Pinchas?  His model of religious action in killing Zimri and Cozbi is deeply disturbing, an apparent invitation to acts of zealotry. And yet it receives not merely approval, but the reward of a "pact of friendship", a divine promise of eternal priesthood.

More..

Balak

By Rabbi Barry Lerer, July 3, 2014

This week's parashah tells the amazing story of Balaam the non-Jewish prophet, who was commissioned by Balak the king of Moab to curse the Children of Israel. On his way to curse them, God sent an angel to confront him.

The Torah tells us that whereas Balaam could not see the angel, his donkey could and tried to veer out of the way. Balaam was frustrated with the donkey and hit it three times.

More..

Chukkat

By Dr Annette Boeckler, June 26, 2014

A major festival happens this week, ignored by many, but in ancient times it ranked as high as Shabbat. This week Rosh Chodesh, the festival of the New Noon, falls on Shabbat (and Sunday).

Therefore the haftarah this Shabbat teaches about Rosh Chodesh. (The traditional haftarah is from Isaiah 66: Liberal congregations will read a different text).

More..

Korach

By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, June 20, 2014

Few can fail to recognise the catastrophic consequences of disunity and strife. Arguments and feuds tear apart families, communities and nations. Yet dispute is inescapable. If we care about any issue that concerns more then just ourselves, then sooner or later we will encounter significant disagreements over areas that we feel matter.

More..

Shelach lecha

By Lindsay Simmonds, June 12, 2014

This week's sidrah exposes the challenges of Israel's journey from a community of passive participants in God's miracles (exodus from Egypt) to a people who familiarise themselves with nature, with the ability to create their own social, political and spiritual wellbeing.

In his introduction to Numbers, the Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Berlin 1816-1893) suggests that Israel now shifts from being "chil

More..