Sidrahs

Korach

By Rabbi Jonny Hughes, June 19, 2015

I can still remember the way it made me feel when I discovered it. I was about nine years old and that season Liverpool were destined to be crowned champions of British football. My father had promised me that, if I was good, for my birthday I would be given the replica all-red home strip. One evening, I unexpectedly opened up the drawer where Dad had been hiding the kit and caught a peek.

More..

Shelach Lecha

By Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, June 10, 2015

Moses, Joshua, Caleb and the 10 princely spies struggle with the people on the borders of the land of Canaan. They fear the land, its people, even the size of its very fruit!

More..

Beha'alotecha

By Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, June 4, 2015

Every cause needs a mantra and every successful campaign is associated with a good slogan. In the 1700s, the French revolted against tyranny under the banner "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity".

More..

Naso

By Felicia Epstein, May 28, 2015

In this sidrah, as in Exodus, Moses is instructed to count (naso) the men of Israel. Naso, which also means "to lift the head", is not the obvious verb to select to refer to counting.

More..

Bemidbar

By Rabbi David Mitchell, May 22, 2015

The biblical method for conducting a census avoided a direct count of heads; instead, small objects were collected, traditionally coins, such as a half-shekel. Yet in the book of II Samuel, King David errs by conducting a direct census, resulting in a plague which kills 70,000 Israelites. This tragedy leads to an ongoing Jewish faux pas — counting people.

More..

Behar-Bechukkotai

By Rabbi Jonny Hughes, May 14, 2015

The pain was excruciating. It suddenly dawned on me why nearly every other tourist zooming around the island on a moped was covered in leg bandages. You see, when you stopped and attempted to dismount these particular bikes, one's calf inevitably came into contact with the exhaust pipe and your next sensation made hell seem like a lukewarm bath. My leg was literally melting.

More..

Emor

By Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, May 7, 2015

This week's Torah portion is a manual for the priesthood and a guide to priestliness. It is an intensely physical state. A priest must of course be born a Cohen, a descendant of Aaron.
Avoiding the defiling power of contact with the dead, he must never shave his head or his beard, or make gashes in his flesh. He must marry only a virgin Israelite or a daughter of the priesthood.

More..

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

By Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, April 30, 2015

Growing up in Brooklyn, my home was situated a mere two roads from the HQ of the Jewish volunteer ambulance corps Hatzalah. It was common on Shabbat to see religious Jews whizzing by in their cars, ambulances or motorbikes with sirens blaring and lights flashing, on their way to respond to a distress call.

More..

Tazria-Metzora

By Felicia Epstein, April 23, 2015

Why does this sidrah, which details the purification process for women after childbirth, repeat the law of male circumcision? We have already learned about the law of circumcision in Genesis with Abraham.

More..

Shemini

By Rabbi David Mitchell, April 17, 2015

It’s about this point in the annual Torah cycle that, as a long-term vegetarian, I become increasingly uncomfortable. It is not just the laws in this week’s parashah concerning the consumption of meat and which species are permitted but also the gory Temple rituals involving flesh, blood, entrails and animal sacrifices.

More..