Joyous Secrets of Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is a joy! How can I say such a thing about a day that a fast day full of long and boring services? Can you keep a secret? (if you read to the end, you will find that  I am revealing 2 secrets) Yom Kippur is one of the most joyous days of the year.  It is the day we give our souls its annual bath. Think back to when you were a child and had to take … Continue reading

Parsha Trumah: Torah from the Inside Out

Hello fellow builders, The parsha (weekly Torah portion) we read this shabbat is all about haShem (god) telling Moshe (Moses) how to build the mishcan (tabernacle). It starts with haShem telling Moshe to tell the children of Yisrael to take for god a trumah (raising-up) offering from every man that has a desire in his heart to volunteer. The parsha is called Trumah for this reason. HaShem gives Moshe a list of the things that can be given for the … Continue reading

Parsha Meekaytz: A Torah on Blessings

Welcome to the Hanukah parsha (Torah portion of the week). Isn’t it funny that we always happen to read this same parsha every time Shabbat falls during Hanukah? I wonder how that happens? 😉 Anyway, the parsha is called Meekaytz which means, “From the end,” as in, “And it was from the end of two years…” which is how the parsha begins. Essentially we are two years after the cup-bearer gets his job back and Yoseph has been forgotten in … Continue reading

Parsha Key Taytzay: Winning and Losing Torah

We are almost to the end of the five books of Moshe (Moses). This week’s parsha (Torah portion), the one we read this shabbat, is called Key Taytzay which means: When you will go out. Out to where? In this case, our parsha is telling us about going out to war. Our parsha begins by talking about what to do when you fight your enemies and capture women whom you wish to marry. A strange way to start a parsha, … Continue reading

Parsha Vaetchanan: How to Speak Torah

This shabbat we read a very interesting parsha (Torah portion), which includes, among other things, the return of the ten utterances.  Let’s start, however, at the beginning. The parsha begins with Moshe (Moses) beseeching haShem (god) to allow him to enter the promised land.  This entreating of god is where the name of our parsha comes from.  In Hebrew, the verb is heetchanan and our parsha is called vaetchanan, which means, “And I beseeched.” God’s answer to Moshe is to … Continue reading

Parsha Mas’ay: Numbers in Torah

This week we finish the fourth book of the Torah, b’Meedbar (Numbers).  The final parsha (weekly Torah portion) is called Mas’ay which means travels, and the parsha starts off by reviewing 40 years of  travels by the children of Yisrael.   At the end of this review, we read that haShem (god) once again talks to Moshe (Moses) telling him to tell the people something.  This time it is what to do when they cross the Jordan river:  remove the people … Continue reading

Parsha Pinchas: A Hand-Some Torah

This week’s parsha (Torah portion) is called Pinchas which is the name of the grandson of Aharon and the son of our current cohen gadol (high priest) Elazar.  Now our previous parsha ended with Pinchas stopping a plague by skewering one of our princes who was flaunting his relationship with a Midyanite woman, and our current parsha picks up with haShem (god) telling Moshe (Moses) that Pinchas saved the children of Yisrael with his act and so haShem is giving … Continue reading

Parsha Acharai: Purely Torah

How interesting is it that just days before we leave Egypt, we read about how the cohen gadol (high priest) atones for everybody’s sins, ie. we read about the yom kippur service. Why? Well, if I tell you now, you might not read the rest of this email, and then you might miss out on one or two other juicy tidbits. 🙂  So, let’s get to it, shall we? The parsha (weekly Torah portion) from last week is called Acharai … Continue reading

Parsha Vayikra: The Sacrificial Torah

Next week we enter the week leading up to Purim.  If we allow ourselves to believe that the energy of the Purim story is timeless, we might also come to realize that while the events of the coming week (and the past few weeks) might seem to be crazy or difficult, the truth of Purim is that there is a hidden goodness in these events, and at Purim, if we get high enough, the whole world will flip-flop, and things … Continue reading

Parsha Shmot: A Torah on Obligations

Hello my friends and welcome to Names! Ok, for some of you, welcome to Shmot (which means names in Hebrew), and is the name of this week’s parsha (Torah portion), as well as the name of the second book of the Torah (which some of you know as Exodus).  In it we find the beginnings of our hero Moshe (Moses).  So, let’s not waste another minute.  Let’s jump right in… The parsha begins with us recounting who came with Yaakov … Continue reading