Sidrahs

Toldot

By Rabbi Jonny Hughes, November 20, 2014

When I caught my children calling each other curious variations of the word "ketchup", it made me think of Esau. Famished after a hard day's hunting, he came home to the smell of fresh food and demanded some "red, red stuff" from his brother. Why does the Torah nickname Esau "Edom" ("Red One") after the colour of the lentil stew he requested? In what way was this request so definitive of the man?

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Chayei sarah

By Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, November 13, 2014

Chayei Sarah is all about death and sex; the death of Sarah, and how Isaac's passion for his bride Rebecca restores him after his loss.

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Vayera

By Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, November 6, 2014

Abraham is the original monotheist. He started the "One God" fan club. Of course, God knew who he was. Why then does the verse emphasise God's awareness of Abraham?

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Lech lecha

By Gila Fine, October 30, 2014

The glare. It came at you, white and fierce, defying you to take one more step into the sun. Yet there was something benevolent about it, something beckoning, a guide toward the promised land.

Abram squinted. He was never one for bright lights. They reminded him too much of Ur. It was, he recalled, a world in flames.

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Noach

By David Mitchell, October 23, 2014

We all know the story - the animals came in two by two, it rained for forty days and nights, the waters receded, the dove returned with an olive branch, Noah left the Ark, and a rainbow appeared. But what happened next?

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Bereshit

By Rabbi Jonny Hughes, October 14, 2014

The Torah teaches here that the sun and the moon have two distinct functions. The first is to differentiate between different times and seasons, a kind of celestial luach (calendar). The second is to illuminate the planet. Rashi understands that these two purposes are listed in order of importance.

The revered pre-War thinker, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, questions the order.

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Shabbat Chol Hamo'ed

By Dr Annette Boeckler, October 7, 2014

King Gog from the land of Magog is a future king, the last of Israel's enemies. He will be definitively destroyed by God Himself at the outbreak of the messianic times, according to the haftarah this Shabbat. His defeat will be the ultimate public and universal demonstration of God's holiness.

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Yom Kippur

By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, October 2, 2014

What exactly is atonement? The archaic-sounding translation belies a fundamental perspective on behavioural transformation.

On Yom Kippur we ask for three things.

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Ha'azinu

By Lindsay Simmonds, September 23, 2014

In this week's sidrah, the penultimate in the Torah, we are told of Moses's impending death. Lord Sacks, commenting on the verses above, suggests that just as the very same rain falls on every plant or tree and yet what grows is specific and unique vegetation, so too with the Torah.

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Nitzavim-Vayelech

By Rabbi Josh Levy, September 18, 2014

We sometimes forget just how radical the early rabbis were.

They inherited a text, the Torah, which they understood to be the direct will of God, and made it the foundation for a new, rich religious life, one which is often unrecognisable as that described in the text itself.

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