Sidrahs

Vayikra

By Rabbi Daniel Roselaar, March 17, 2016

The classical commentators suggest several reasons why one of the sacrifices introduced in this sidrah known as a shelamim (peace-offering).

According to Rashbam, the word shelamim is not related to the Hebrew word for peace, shalom, but to the word which means to make a repayment, leshalem.

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Pekudei

By Dr Lynndy Levin, March 10, 2016

"And the glory of God filled the Mishkan" Exodus 40:35

Pekudei is the final parashah in the Book of Exodus. It sharply contrasts the minutiae of construction with the infinite nature of the structure, individual passion with collective transcendence and the loftiness of God anchored in the midst of the people.

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Vayakhel

By Rabbi Larry Tabick, March 3, 2016

Superficially, after the opening verses on Shabbat, most of Vayakhel is (frankly) boring. Sorry. It's the record of all the things that Bezalel and other craftsmen and craftswomen made for the Tabernacle, the portable temple the Israelites built in the wilderness at God's command under Moses' direction.

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Ki Tissa

By Maureen Kendler, February 25, 2016

Is there a sadder Torah sight than Aaron standing by helplessly while the children of Israel build a golden calf?

When Moses went up the mountain, he left Aaron and Hur (Aaron's nephew) in charge, but Hur is not mentioned in this sidrah. The Talmud suggests that Hur had been killed as he attempted to appease an angry crowd, frantic at Moses's absence (Sanhedrin 7a).

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Tetzaveh

By Rabbi Mark Solomon, February 18, 2016

These decorative trimmings on the High Priest's blue robe are recalled to this day by the precious finials placed on the poles of a Torah scroll, which are called rimonim (pomegranates) and adorned with bells.

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Terumah

By Rabbi Daniel Roselaar, February 11, 2016

This week's sidrah introduces a series of sedarot that address the construction of the Tabernacle. This Tabernacle accompanied the Israelites on their travels through the wilderness and served as a focal point for their religious devotions until King Solomon built the first Temple in Jerusalem.

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Mishpatim

By Rebbetzin Dr Lynndy Levin, February 4, 2016

Parashat Mishpatim and the preceding Parashat Yitro show God Himself to be the originator of the principle that the rule of law is the foundation of civil society.

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Yitro

By Rabbi Larry Tabick, January 29, 2016

“You shall be Mine — a treasure among all the nations, though all the earth is Mine ” Exodus 19:5

What is the best thing about being Jewish? Bagels and smoked salmon? Anybody can eat them! A sense of a connection with all Jews everywhere? Not all Jews feel that! A love of Israel? Ditto! A love of Jewish culture? Again, ditto.

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Beshallach

By Maureen Kendler, January 21, 2016

So Sisera, the wicked, feared general, the mighty enemy of the Israelites, had a mother after all - and a mother who worried about him because he is late home from work!

In this week's haftarah, Deborah conjures a very unexpected image as part of her victory song, which celebrates the defeat of Sisera and his army.

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Bo

By Rabbi Mark Solomon, January 14, 2016

The Midrash asks a burning question: even if the Egyptians deserved such a terrible plague, for their oppression of the Israelites, how had the other slaves sinned? There is another puzzle too; here the first-born of the slave girls are specified, while later on (12:29) it is "the first-born of the captive in the pit" – why the change? The commentators solve this puzzle neatly.

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