Sidrahs

Shelach lecha

By Lindsay Simmonds, June 12, 2014

This week's sidrah exposes the challenges of Israel's journey from a community of passive participants in God's miracles (exodus from Egypt) to a people who familiarise themselves with nature, with the ability to create their own social, political and spiritual wellbeing.

In his introduction to Numbers, the Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Berlin 1816-1893) suggests that Israel now shifts from being "chil

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Beha'alotecha

By Rabbi Josh Levy, June 6, 2014

The Talmud tells the story of a student who once led prayers in the presence of Rabbi Eliezer. He abbreviated the service a great deal, much to the annoyance of Eliezer’s own students who objected. “He shortens the prayers too much”, they complained to their master. Rabbi Eliezer replied, “Does he shorten them more than our teacher Moses?

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Naso

By Rabbi Barry Lerer, May 29, 2014

This week’s parashah is the longest in the Torah. Yet over half of the verses are repetition of the identical offerings brought by each of the twelve tribal leaders for the dedication of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).

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Bemidbar

By Dr Annette Boeckler, May 23, 2014

Severe issues of distrust between husband and wife are what the haftarah is all about. She does not speak with him any more and he speaks about her with their children: “A harlot is your mother! Please, kids, go and tell her. Tell her, I will strip her naked and I will make her like a wilderness.”

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Bechukkotai

By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, May 15, 2014

Bechukkotai opens with the potential blessing of the perfected world. It continues with the ominous warnings of the consequence of failure. Often missed is that it reveals the hitherto unspecified nature of the covenant itself.

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Behar

By Lindsay Simmonds, May 9, 2014

This week’s sidrah is peppered with references to the Land of Israel, and the underlying covenant between God and the Jewish people which enables Jews to live there.

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Emor

By Rabbi Josh Levy, May 2, 2014

The Torah is quite explicit. For 36 offences, the prescribed punishment is death. Yet while the Torah demanded it, the rabbinic exercise all but removed the death penalty from Jewish law. 

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Kedoshim

By Rabbi Barry Lerer, April 24, 2014

The Midrash tells us that when the children of Israel arrived in the Land of Israel, it was already filled with trees. Nevertheless, God commanded them to plant new trees. They were obligated to provide for others in the same way that others had provided for them. Perhaps that generation would not enjoy the fruits of their labour but the next generation would.

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Shabbat Chol Hamo'ed Pesach

By Dr Annette Boeckler, April 17, 2014

The Amidah connects us daily with the memory of our patriarchs and matriarchs in its first passage; the second passage, Mechayeh hametim, however, could be seen as linking us daily with Pesach. “You are eternally mighty, God. You give life to the dead and have great power to save”, according to the traditional text.

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Acharei Mot

By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, April 11, 2014

Acharei Mot, literally “after the deaths”, introduces the laws of Yom Kippur against the backdrop of the deaths of the son’s of Aaron. What is the connection between the two?

The climax of the inaugural week of the Tabernacle, the eighth day, forms the core of Torah. Almost a third of Torah took place on that single day.

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