Parsha Naso: The Power of Confession

I hope everybody had a good Shavuot on Sunday. Our tradition says that Shavuot is the day haShem (god) spoke to us from Mount Sinai. In other words, it is a day of revelation. Did any of you have any revelations this past Sunday? If so, please share them in the comments section below. 🙂 Part of what haShem gave us on Sunday is this week’s parsha (Torah portion). It is called Naso which means to lift up or to … Continue reading

Parsha B’meedbar: I am not a Number!

This week we start reading the 4th book of the Torah. Both it and the parsha (the weekly Torah portion) are called B’meedbar which means, “In the wilderness,” in Hebrew. (The book is called Numbers in English). The beginning of this book coincides with our moving away from Mt. Sinai and into a 39 year sojourn in the wilderness. What? Yes, you are correct. It took us 40 years from the time we left Egypt until we entered the Promised … Continue reading

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

This is the week I call catch-up week. I call it that because six weeks ago, at the end of Pesach/Passover, the Jews in Israel went back to reading the weekly parsha (Torah portion), while the rest of us took an extra day of Pesach and read a special parsha. Since then, Israel has been a week ahead of us in parshas. This shabbat the Jews of the diaspora and the Jews in the land get back in sync. How? … Continue reading

Parsha Emor: Don’t Be a Square Peg in a Round Hole

YOU WILL SAY! This is the name of our parsha (weekly Torah portion). In Hebrew, it is called Emor.   Who will say, who is commanding, and what is needed to be said is not hidden from us. HaShem (god) is telling Moshe (Moses) to tell the children of his brother Aharon, the cohen (priest) several laws around who they can marry, who they can bury, what condition they need to be in to make the offerings to haShem, and who … Continue reading

Parsha (double) Acharai-Kedushim: Repeating Torah

This week the Torah tells us that after death is holiness. How can this be? Easy. It is the translation of Acharai Mot-Kedushim, which is the Hebrew name for our parsha (weekly Torah portion). I added the word Mot, which means death, because some people feel it is part of the title due to the fact that Acharai (after) is not a unique enough word. The hard part is understanding what the Torah could possibly be trying to tell us … Continue reading

Parsha (double) Tazria-Metzora: Don’t Make a Problem Worse than It Is

This week we are treated to a double parsha.  A parsha is the portion of the Torah that is read on a particular week.  If you want to understand what a double parsha is, and why they exist, I suggest going to this blog entry where I explain it. Our parsha is called Tazria-Metzorah; the first word is the name of the first parsha, and the second word is the name of the second parsha.  Tazria is Hebrew for She … Continue reading

Parsha Shmini: When to Be Clear Headed

This week we return to our normal weekly Torah readings (called parshas).  The parsha for this week is called Shmini which means 8th and refers to the 8th day after Aharon and his sons started their initiation into the priesthood (which we read about 3 weeks ago, before Pesach/Passover).  The intiation was a 7 day process, and now we are in the 8th day. Our parsha describes the days events, how Aharon does the sacrifices and blessings that lead to … Continue reading

Holy Day Parsha: Freedom is not Just Another Word – It is about Giving

This week’s parsha (Torah portion) is an interesting parsha because what we read depends on where we are. If you are in Israel, then you will be reading parsha Shmini. If you are outside of Israel, then you will be reading a special Pesach (Passover) parsha. Is this because we Jews like to make things difficult? Not really. It goes back to our roots. Without going into all the details, it has to do with how a Jewish month begins … Continue reading

Parsha Tzav: Being Ego Free

This week is the first week of spring. And that means Pesach (Passover) is almost here. One of the interesting things about Pesach is that we are not allowed to have any leavening in our possession. Leavening is the result of fermented grain and is what makes bread rise. When I was in the orthodox world of Jerusalem, I heard that chometz (leavening) is symbolic of the ego. After all, aren’t both really just hot air? The idea is that … Continue reading

Parsha Vayikra: Being a Small Aleph

This week we start reading the third book of the Torah. It is called Vayikra in Hebrew, or Leviticus in English.   The book deals a lot with the laws of the priesthood, the ins and outs of the sacrifices, and matters of purity. This leads us to ask: What is the connection between these 3? The answer starts with purity and the question of sin.   I am defining sin as doing something other than what haShem (god) wants us to … Continue reading