Parsha Vaetchanan: Getting to the Promised Land (For Jerry)

hello everyone, Last week’s parsha (weekly Torah portion), we listened to Moshe review our journey from Mount Sinai to the edge of the promised land. In this week’s parsha, Moshe (Moses) talks about haShem (god) turning down his request to enter the land, all that haShem has done to get the people to this point, what will happen if the people forget haShem, which cities east of the Jordan are safe havens for unintentional murderers, the 10 statements (commonly referred … Continue reading

Parsha D’varim: YOU and Torah

Hello everybody, This week we start the final chapter in the drama that we call the Torah.  The book is called D’varim (Deuteronomy) which means “words” in Hebrew, for these are Moshe’s (Moses) final words to the family of Yisrael before they go and take the land haShem (god) has promised them.  This week’s parsha (weekly Torah portion), btw, is also called D’varim. 🙂 So, what does Moshe tell the people?  Before I start, remember that he is talking, not … Continue reading

A Deeper Meaning to the 3 Weeks and Tisha b’Av

I hope everybody has been enjoying their summer.  Currently we are in the Jewish month of Tammuz, in the middle of a period called:  The 3 weeks.  This is a 3 week period from the 17th of Tammuz until the 9th of the month of Av, and it is the worst period of time in the Jewish year wheel.  Both days are fast days and the 9th of Av (tisha b’Av) is the day that the 2 temples got destroyed, … Continue reading

Parsha Matot-Mas’ay: 80% of the Torah

Torah, Torah, Torah, Torah…. Why do I say Torah 4 times?  Because with this week’s double portion, we finished book 4 of the 5 books of Torah our man Moshe (Moses) wrote.  So, how do we finish the book called Numbers in English and Bamidbar, which means wilderness or speaking, in Hebrew?  The first of the two parshas (portions) is called Matot in Hebrew, which means staffs or tribes.  It starts off by talking about oaths and vows.  We then … Continue reading

The Owl Explains Why We Don’t Drink Unkosher Wine

Recently I was talking to a Native American.  She is part of the Selitz tribe.  She reminded me a little bit of a typical American Jew.  She told me about a few “superstitions” that she was taught growing up, like a person should not look out a window at night because of evil spirits.  However, she said that it was ok to walk outside at night, and she did not understand why looking is a problem, while going out would … Continue reading

Parsha Pinchas: A New Generation of Torah

It is that time again for a word or two on this week’s parsha (Torah portion).  The parsha is titled Pinchas (or Phineas for those of you with an English bent) and it is a strange beast.  The week before, we left our heroes fighting a plague for getting involved in idol worship and having Pinchas come to the rescue by killing a high ranking Jew and his Midianite lover.  In this parsha, Pinchas gets rewarded, and god tells Moshe … Continue reading

Gunshots on the 4th of July

When I was growing up, I could not wait for the 4th of July.  I loved firing off fireworks.  Yes, I was a bit of a pyro in my youth.  The fireworks were fun to watch.  But it was the lighting I really liked. The main way we celebrate Independence day in the United States is with fireworks.  Some might say it is a bbq too.  However, plenty of people don’t bbq.  They go to a ball game and watch … Continue reading

Parsha Balak: A Hidden Torah

Hello everyone, Welcome to the whacky world of Torah where things are not as they seem.  This week’s parsha (weekly Torah portion), at the beginning, seems one way, and then ends another way.  It is called Balak, and we start talking a lot about him.  That, however, is only to introduce our main character Bilim, who is hired to curse the children of Israel.  However, he tells his employer, Balak, that he will only do what haShem (god) tells him.   … Continue reading