Sidrahs

Tetzaveh

By Rabbi Michael Pollak, February 21, 2013

The Battle of Refidim is one of the epic stories of the Chumash. The Jewish people were marching through the desert with their womenfolk, children and elderly when the Amalekites attacked out of the blue. Initially, it does not go well but Moses, supported by his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam’s son, Hur, ascend a nearby mountain.

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Terumah

By Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, February 14, 2013

This word, keruvim, sometimes translated as Cherubim, is used in only two places in the Chumash: to describe the statues guarding the Holy Ark (above) and the creatures protecting the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24): What is the connection between the Ark and the Garden of Eden, both of which merit the protection of these special creatures?

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Mishpatim

By Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, February 7, 2013

Any explanation of the Jewish dietary laws usually includes the concept of self-control. We are instructed to keep away from non-kosher food not because it is intrinsically bad but because restraint refines us, it makes us “holy”.

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Yitro

By Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, February 1, 2013

The tenth commandment is surely one of the hardest to legislate for, if not impossible. Working as a Jewish chaplain to the women and staff at Holloway Prison, I talk to prisoners about what has happened, or has not happened, for them to be there. Rarely is it easy to talk about feelings and intention.

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Beshallach

By Rabbi Daniel Beller, January 24, 2013

A common claim is that were we to experience miracles on the scale of the Exodus, then belief in God would be an altogether easier proposition. The problem is that the biblical text simply does not bear this out.

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Bo

By Rabbi Michael Pollak, January 18, 2013

And so the Jewish calendar, with its amalgam of lunar and solar elements, is born. It is part a solar calendar based around days and weeks, all neatly adding up to almost exactly the amount of time it takes the earth to travel once around the sun.

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Va'era

By Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, January 11, 2013

Every school child knows that Moses had a speech impediment. Rashi claims that it was a physical problem, while modern psychologists suggest that perhaps he stuttered or had a psychological issue due to being taken from his biological mother at a young age.

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Shemot

By Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, January 3, 2013

The slavery in Egypt and the subsequent salvation is the foundation story of our people. God’s instruction to Moses to redeem his people has inspired Jews and non-Jews alike throughout the generations. But are the Israelites required to go through this tremendous ordeal?

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Vayechi

By Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, December 27, 2012

In the last portion of Genesis, why does this verse begin with vayiru, they saw, just after the previous verse describes the sons burying their father Jacob? Wasn’t it obvious they knew their father was dead? The information seems unnecessary, but no word is superfluous in Torah.

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Vayigash

By Rabbi Daniel Beller, December 24, 2012

To establish a covenant with remarkably righteous individuals such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is easy. But to maintain it with an entire nation is an almost impossible task. Mistakes will be made and wrongs committed. How, then, can the covenant be held together without rejecting anyone?

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