Sidrahs

Chukkat

By Rabbi Miriam Berger, June 30, 2011

It cannot be a coincidence that in one parashah death is dealt with so extensively; Miriam and Aaron both die, Moses is sentenced to a premature death and many of the Israelites are wiped out in a plague. Parashat Chukkat teaches about the complexities of death, beginning with the idea that death is not something we can ever understand or rationalise.

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Korach

By Rabbi Pinchas Hackenbroch, June 23, 2011

Korach's rebellion against the authority and leadership of Moses is used by our sages as the paradigmatic case of an argument that is "not for the sake of heaven". "What is an example of a machloket which is for the sake of heaven?" asks Pirkei Avot. "The machloket between Hillel and Shammai. And what is the example par excellence of a machloket which is not for the sake of heaven?

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Shelach lecha

By Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh, June 16, 2011

The spies have returned from touring the Promised Land and, in a paradigmatic way, are divided about what they have seen and its significance; ten out of the twelve are sunk in misery and pessimism, and only two are full of confidence and hope.

The Israelites en bloc side with the ten rather than the two, and as a result, in spite of an impassioned plea by Moses to the thirteen attributes of Go

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Beha'alotecha

By Sally Berkovic, June 10, 2011

Anyone who has taken a group of over-excited youth on a trip to Israel understands the logistics of moving the group from one place to another.

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Naso

By Rabbi Benjamin Rickman, June 2, 2011

Before self-help groups and 12-step programmes, the Torah had already proscribed a methodology for helping individuals manage personal growth. The law of the Nazir (Nazirite) is introduced this week. The law is a paradox. The individual becomes kadosh, holy, yet the Nazir is described as a sinner because aestheticism is not the Jewish way.

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Bemidbar

By Rabbi Miriam Berger, May 26, 2011

People describe London, and other big cities in the UK, as a multicultural melting pot, with people from different countries or of different cultures and religions living along side one another. In fact, this is not strictly true.

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Bechukkotai

May 19, 2011

The assurance that the sword of war will not cross our borders is sufficient reason to rest peacefully at night. The mere fact that we have nothing to worry about should put our minds at ease. Why then does the Torah find it necessary to add to the promise of "no sword" the additional blessing that we will sleep without fear?

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Behar

By Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh, May 12, 2011

On the dedication page of her book Silent Spring, published in 1962, the late Rachel Carson, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, quoted the writer E. B. White, creator of Stuart Little, who wrote: "I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission.

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Emor

By Sally Berkovic, May 5, 2011

God's busy social calendar is outlined in this week's parashah: Shabbat, festivals and the counting of the Omer – His attendance is required at every moment. However, nestled among these holy days is a commandment that demands human intervention, to leave aside a corner of the field for the poor.

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Kedoshim

By Rabbi Benjamin Rickman, April 28, 2011

The commandment to be holy was spoken to the entire nation.This was unusual in that most commandments were communicated directly to Moses, who would then transmit the teachings to the people.

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