Sidrahs

Naso

By Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, May 17, 2013

This important blessing, so well known and used with gratitude by Judeo-Christian traditions, is ubiquitous in many services. But it’s curious. God is usually responsible for blessing. Yet here it is Aaron and his sons, the priests, who are asked to do the blessing.

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Bemidbar

By Rabbi Daniel Beller , May 9, 2013

According to Nachmanides there were two primary reasons for the census taken by Moses in the second year in the wilderness: to ascertain the total numbers of the nation; and to become acquainted with each individual.

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Behar-Bechukkotai

By Rabbi Michael Pollak, May 2, 2013

The decision to use an Employment Tribunal to defend an individual’s right to support the state of Israel was described by one legal epic as an “epic folly”. Epic or not, surely the greatest folly was the assumed expertise of Judge Anthony Snelson to rule that an attachment to Israel was “not intrinsically a part of Jewishness”.

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Emor

By Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, April 25, 2013

Ask any schoolchild “When is Shabbat?” and she will tell you what we all know: Shabbat is the seventh day. But this is not always the case, as Parashat Emor teaches us.

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Acharei-Mot Kedoshim

By Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, April 22, 2013

“When you shall come to the Land, and you will plant any food-bearing tree, you shall withhold its fruits” Leviticus 19:23

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Tazria-Metzora

By Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, April 11, 2013

A challenging double portion, consumed with skin complaints, house mould, impurity and far removed from our own experience. The affliction of leprosy, tzara’at, appears in both the associated haftarot; while Metzora’s (read this week) tells of the four starving lepers during the siege of Samaria, the haftarah for Tazria is about Na’aman.

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Shemini

By Rabbi Daniel Beller, April 8, 2013

The balance between personal expression and structured ritual has been one of the key tensions in the religious experience. Those favouring the former will stress the importance of authenticity and intention in what one does, questioning the value of simply following a set pattern of observance.

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Shabbat Chol Hamo'ed Pesach

By Rabbi Michael Pollak, March 29, 2013

In general, it is fair to characterise the Torah commentators of the Middle Ages such as Rashi, Avraham ibn Ezra or Ramban as looking to provide the real meaning of the text.

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Tzav

By Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, March 21, 2013

Elijah, the prophet invoked by the final verses of the haftarah for Shabbat Hagadol, is closely associated with the Pesach Seder. Towards the end of this well-known ritual, we open the front door wide to him into our home.

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Vayikra

By Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, March 15, 2013

For many people the sacrificial laws are particularly difficult to relate to and understand. This startling anthropomorphic verse is no exception. How can the Torah suggest that God smells the aroma of roasting meat, enjoys the sensation and, as a result, accepts the sacrifice?

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