By Rabbi Miriam Berger, August 4, 2011

Whether you read the Torah using academic source criticism or as direct revelation from God at Sinai, the book of Deuteronomy is a synopsis of the other books of the Torah.

Parashat Devarim sets the tone of Moses' monologue.



By Rabbi Pinchas Hackenbroch, July 28, 2011

There is much puzzlement over this verse. Why did the Torah first mention starting-points before journeys but then reverse the order?

The Dubno Maggid explains the difficulties with one of his famous parables. A stepson was severely mistreated by his stepmother. One day his father travelled to a distant city and arranged an excellent match for his son.



By Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh, July 21, 2011

In periods of recession it is only to be expected that families look carefully at their household budgets to ascertain where they can find savings.



By Sally Berkovic, July 14, 2011

Did you tick the Jewish box in the recent Census? Were you willing to be counted as part of the Jewish people?
There was no opting out in this week's parashah. God instructed Moses and Elazar to count the male members of the community from the age of 20.



By Rabbi Benjamin Rickman, July 7, 2011

It is quite possible that you have encountered people that ought to know better but conduct themselves as if they are blissfully ignorant of the correct thing to do. This week Balak, the king of Moab, wants to wage war against the Israelites.



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.



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?


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



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.



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.