By Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, June 20, 2013

So magical is the capacity of Balaam’s donkey to talk that it is listed in Pirkei Avot (5:6) as one of the wonders created at twilight on the eve of Shabbat, along with other mysterious things such as Miriam’s well or manna.



By Rabbi Daniel Beller, June 13, 2013

In Parashat Chukkat, we suddenly find ourselves in the fortieth year in the wilderness. This is a period which witnesses the death of Miriam and Aaron. Moses, too, will be unable to enter the land due to his mishandling of yet another water crisis. Nor, does it seem, that the children of Israel have progressed from the cantankerous rabble that had left Egypt forty years earlier.



By Rabbi Michael Pollak, June 6, 2013

And so ended the rebellion led by Korach, the eponymous villain of our parashah. Oscar Wilde commented on the degree to which “life imitates art”. We might elaborate on his thesis with the parallel proposition that at the moment “life is imitating the parashah”.


Shelach Lecha

By Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, May 30, 2013

Parashat Shelach Lecha begins with the spies forgetting their mission and ends with God giving us a tool, tzitzit, so we will always remember our mission. While the Torah does not explicitly make this connection, it seems a reasonable one to draw, as the failure of the spies’ mission stems from their lack of confidence and inability to view themselves, as God does, as a “treasured people”.



By Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, May 23, 2013

“And the people became complainers of evil in the ears of the Lord” Numbers 11:1

V Once again we find the people complaining about the hardships of their journey from Egypt towards the Promised Land. In this week’s parashah, the complaints are ostensibly about the bland regularity of the manna. The people demanded meat instead.



By Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, May 17, 2013

This important blessing, so well known and used with gratitude by Judeo-Christian traditions, is ubiquitous in many services. But it’s curious. God is usually responsible for blessing. Yet here it is Aaron and his sons, the priests, who are asked to do the blessing.



By Rabbi Daniel Beller , May 9, 2013

According to Nachmanides there were two primary reasons for the census taken by Moses in the second year in the wilderness: to ascertain the total numbers of the nation; and to become acquainted with each individual.



By Rabbi Michael Pollak, May 2, 2013

The decision to use an Employment Tribunal to defend an individual’s right to support the state of Israel was described by one legal epic as an “epic folly”. Epic or not, surely the greatest folly was the assumed expertise of Judge Anthony Snelson to rule that an attachment to Israel was “not intrinsically a part of Jewishness”.



By Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, April 25, 2013

Ask any schoolchild “When is Shabbat?” and she will tell you what we all know: Shabbat is the seventh day. But this is not always the case, as Parashat Emor teaches us.


Acharei-Mot Kedoshim

By Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, April 22, 2013

“When you shall come to the Land, and you will plant any food-bearing tree, you shall withhold its fruits” Leviticus 19:23