Parsha Shlach: Beware of Spies

This week’s parsha (Torah portion)  is a strange one.  Moshe (Moses) sends 12 men into the land to spy on it and its inhabitants.  They come out and their report causes a national hysteria which leads to a 40 year sojourn in the desert until all the men die off.  The Torah then goes into a discussion about sacrifices, and we finish with a man getting stoned to death for breaking shabbat and a law regarding the wearing of tzitzit … Continue reading

Parsha B’ha’alotcha: A Depressing Torah?

This week we get to re-visit a very strange parsha (weekly Torah portion).  It is called B’ha’alotcha which means, “When you raise up,”  and is referring to the candles of the menorah.   This will make more sense if we begin at the beginning of the parsha, which starts with… you guessed it… haShem (god) speaking to Moshe (Moses). This time he is to tell Aharon that when he raises up the candles, towards the face of the menorah (candelabra) the … Continue reading

Parsha Naso: Treason!

I hope everybody had a good Shavuot; that you are well rested and energized from hearing Divinity speaking to us. And this is a bit of what he had to say… This week’s parsha (weekly Torah portion) is called Naso which comes from the verb to lift up or to carry. The parsha begins with haShem (god) telling Moshe (Moses) to lift up the head of the children of Garshon who are one of the Levite families.  It is really … Continue reading

Shavuot: First Fruit of Revelation

Passover has come and gone.  It was the start of a journey.  And Shavuot (this Wednesday, May 15) is the ending of that journey and the beginning of a new and improved journey.  It is the day that we receive Divine revelation.  It is the day that we start to see our hard work over the last several months start to manifest in this world.  It is the day we bring those first fruits to the temple, that sacred space … Continue reading

Parsha B’meedbar: A Redeeming Torah

Hello all you wilderness seekers, That’s right, we have finally made it into the book of the wilderness.  This shabbat we will read parsha (weekly Torah portion) B’meedbar (which means wilderness in Hebrew), and this pasha also happens to be the first parsha of the fourth book of the Torah.  This book has the same name as the parsha, but is called Numbers in English because it begins and ends with a census of all the tribes.  Let’s wander into … Continue reading

Parsha (double) B’har-B’chukoti: A Choice Torah

This week is a special parsha.  We finish up the third book written by the hand of Moshe (Moses):  Vayikra (Leviticus), and it is also another double parsha.  The first parsha is called B’har which means, “At the mountain,” as in, “And haShem (god) spoke to Moshe at Mount Sinai saying.”  The name of the second of our parshas is called B’chukoti which means, “In my laws,” as it says in the first verse of the second parsha:  If you … Continue reading