By Dr Annette Boeckler, January 2, 2014

“They are marching with an army”, “destroying the forest”, “more numerous than locusts”, and “cannot be counted”: so in this week’s haftarah the prophet Jeremiah describes the Babylonian army about to destroy the old Egyptian empire with Pharaoh “and those who trust in him”. And here it gets delicate.



By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, December 27, 2013

At some point in antiquity, the custom arose read the Torah in weekly portions, segmented along natural conceptual fault-lines. It seems somewhat curious that Va’era stops after the seventh of ten strikes against Egypt.



By Lindsay Simmonds, December 27, 2013

Sefer Shemot, The Book of Exodus, is the second book of the five making up the Chumash. Although often named Exodus, the Hebrew word shemot means “names”.



By Rabbi Josh Levy, December 12, 2013

Why did Pharaoh allow Joseph to leave Egypt so easily? Was he not worried that Joseph would not return, or would set up an alternative power base in Canaan? Was he not offended that burial in Egypt was somehow not good enough for the father of his second-in command?



By Rabbi Barry Lerer, December 6, 2013

The brothers seem to slightly exaggerate Joseph’s position (on his request in an earlier verse), claiming to Jacob that he is the ruler over all of the land of Egypt. After all, it was Pharaoh who ruled over Egypt, so what does it mean that Joseph ruled over Egypt?



By Dr Annette Boeckler, November 28, 2013

“The Eternal One said to Satan ” Zechariah 3:2

In the northern hemisphere Chanucah usually falls when the nights are longest and darkest, but not this year, a month earlier than usual and, at its core, Chanucah is not a winter solstice festival anyway but a postponed Succot.



By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, November 21, 2013

The talmudic depiction suggests Joseph was so tempted that he claim close to sin. It is easy to understand why. A teenage boy rejected by his own family, lost in Egypt, fell into the clutches of a great seductress.



November 14, 2013

Much has been speculated about Dinah’s desire to leave the safety of her family’s tents and wander off to explore the lives of other women, the daughters of Canaan; and much also about her rape by Shechem.



By Rabbi Josh Levy, November 7, 2013

In the rabbinic chronology of Jacob’s story, the patriarch is blessed by his father at age 63, leaves home to study for 14 years and finally, after seven years of labour for Laban, marries at the grand age of 84. By contrast, we are told that his brother, Esau, marries at (just) 40 years of age. What possible moral can this difference have for us?



By Rabbi Barry Lerer, October 31, 2013

The Midrash tells us that what impressed Isaac, was not the scent of Jacob’s garments (bigadim), rather it was the spiritual character of his betrayers (bogdim), those descendants of Jacob who would turn away from God and then turn back again in repentance. It was through this that Isaac found Jacob worthy of his blessing.