Sidrahs

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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Vayakhel-Pekudei

By Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, March 7, 2013

Nediv means generous, inclined, willing, even noble in behaviour. As in parashat Terumah, Moses talks here of gifts and instructs that the sanctuary will be constructed from donations. Not obligatory offerings but those given with a willing heart and spirit.

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Ki Tissa

By Rabbi Daniel Beller, March 4, 2013

The construction of the golden calf has been interpreted by thinkers such as Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, in his famous work, The Kuzari, as a powerful expression of the closeness that the Children of Israel sought to have with God. Their intention was noble, but its expression crossed the boundaries of what was acceptable in God’s eyes and law.

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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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