Sidrahs

Yitro

By Rabbi Larry Tabick, January 29, 2016

“You shall be Mine — a treasure among all the nations, though all the earth is Mine ” Exodus 19:5

What is the best thing about being Jewish? Bagels and smoked salmon? Anybody can eat them! A sense of a connection with all Jews everywhere? Not all Jews feel that! A love of Israel? Ditto! A love of Jewish culture? Again, ditto.

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Beshallach

By Maureen Kendler, January 21, 2016

So Sisera, the wicked, feared general, the mighty enemy of the Israelites, had a mother after all - and a mother who worried about him because he is late home from work!

In this week's haftarah, Deborah conjures a very unexpected image as part of her victory song, which celebrates the defeat of Sisera and his army.

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Bo

By Rabbi Mark Solomon, January 14, 2016

The Midrash asks a burning question: even if the Egyptians deserved such a terrible plague, for their oppression of the Israelites, how had the other slaves sinned? There is another puzzle too; here the first-born of the slave girls are specified, while later on (12:29) it is "the first-born of the captive in the pit" – why the change? The commentators solve this puzzle neatly.

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Va'era

By Rabbi Daniel Roselaar, January 7, 2016

The most straightforward understanding of the phrase above is presented by Abraham Ibn Ezra, who says that it means that God instructed Moses and Aaron to go to the Israelites and prepare them for the Exodus that was due to take place.

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Shemot

January 5, 2016

“The children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we. Come let us act wisely lest, if a war occurs ,they join our enemies” Exodus 1:8-10.
The antisemitic leitmotif of Parashat Shemot stretches far beyond. It has echoes in Megillat Esther (3:8-9): "There is a people dispersed among all the provinces of your realm.

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Shemot

By Rebbetzin Dr Lynndy Levin, January 1, 2016

"The children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we. Come let us act wisely lest, if a war occurs, they join our enemies" Exodus 1:8-10

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Vayechi

December 21, 2015

"And now, I give you one portion [sh'chem] more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow" Genesis 48:22

Jacob's life is drawing to its natural close and he wishes to bless his children before he departs this life.

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Vayiggash

December 17, 2015

"And Pharaoh said to his brothers, 'What is your occupation?' And they said to Pharaoh, 'Your servants are shepherds, both we, and our fathers'" Genesis 47:3

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Mikketz

By Rabbi Mark Solomon, December 10, 2015

The vain youth who had dreamt of his family bowing down to him has matured. Sold into slavery and thrown in prison, he has learnt humility. When Pharaoh says to him, "I'm told that you only have to hear a dream to interpret its meaning," Joseph modestly answers, "It's not down to me," or, following Targum Onkelos: not from my wisdom, but from God comes the answer to give Pharaoh peace of mind.

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Vayeshev

By Rabbi Daniel Roselaar, December 3, 2015

In rabbinic literature Joseph is described as Yosef Hatzaddik, Joseph the Righteous, a high accolade which we are taught that he earned because of the way that he resisted the sexual advances of Potiphar's wife.

One of the questions that comes to mind when reading the episode is why was he so careless in leaving his shirt in his mistress's hand when he fled from her?

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