Shabbat Sukkot

This coming Friday we will celebrate Sukkot along with Shabbat. One of the traditions is to welcome a member of the “Ushpizin”, or honored guests, into your sukkah – one for each night of sukkot. The honored guests are traditionally Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; Moses and Aaron; and Joseph and David. More recently noteable Jewish women have been added – women who either compliment... read more

Ha’Azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1 – 32:52)

In the portion this week, Moses teaches the song (or poem, depending on how you interpret it) to the Israelites, the one that describes what is going to happen to them (entering the land, turning away from God, getting clobbered with curses, returning to God generations later). This song is intended to be a lifeline to that future generation, the instruction that will tell them – when they are ready... read more

Vayeilech (Deuteronomy 31:1 – 31:30)

We continue reading about Moses’ last day on earth, a tale that has taken up several parshiot – more (I think) than any other narrative arc in the Torah. At the start of the portion this week, according to the JPS, Moses says: “I am now one hundred and twenty years old, I can no longer be active.” Fox translates this line as: “A hundred and twenty years old am I today; I am... read more

Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30:20)

Our Torah cycle and our year is drawing to a close, and like many people in the twilight of a cycle of time (whether it’s a year, a life or tv series), Moses reflects on a happier time, a time when the world was full of possibilities. Back to Mt. Sinai we go, when we received the 10 commandments and for one amazing moment everyone heard the voice of God. At that moment, we offered our children as... read more

Ki Tavo(Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8)

In subtle support of the month of Elul in which we read this portion, Torah offers thoughts which allow for self-reflection, corrective action, and a return to our roots. Moses gives instructions how the Israelites should mark our entrance to the Land, how offerings and tithes are meant to support not just the religious framework of society (the Levites) but also the disadvantaged. The tribes go up... read more