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Shabbat Vayaytzay (Gen. 28:10-32:3)

We pick up this week with Jacob traveling – running for his life, actually – to the home of Laban. On his way, he has a vision of a ladder that extends to heaven, angels traveling both up and down. He arrives at his mother’s home and meets Rachel at the well. He works 7 years to marry her, only to find on the morning after the wedding that Leah took her place. So he works another 7 years... read more

Shabbat Toledot (Gen. 25:19-28:9)

This week we delve into the character, psyche and dynamics of Isaac’s family: Jacob was fairer than Esau, with a lighter complexion and smaller build. Esau was apparently a lightweight when it came to study. Rebecca was smart (bright) when it came to obtaining the blessing for Jacob. Isaac appeared to be unenlightened when it came what was happening in his own household. SO… limited only by your... read more

Shabbat Chayay Sarah (Gen. 23:1-25:18)

The trope (chanting of the Torah) for the portion this week includes the “shalshelet” – a musical sequence that only appears four times in all of Torah (Gen. 19:16, 24:12, 39:8; Lev. 8:23). It always appears at the beginning of a verse and in each case, it indicates indecision or wavering. The most famous of these comes later on, when Potiphar’s wife asks Joseph to lie with her and... read more

Shabbat Vayera (Gen. 18:1 – 22:24)

It’s hard not to find a story or angle (that’s “angle”, not “angel”, although they’re in the portion this week too!) you can’t like in this part of the Torah! So much happens in each portion. Consider the plot elements for this week: Abraham circumcises himself Abraham and Sarah get new names (ok, those two things actually happened last week but it’s still too good not to mention here) 3 “visitors”... read more

Shabbat Lech Lecha (Gen. 12:1-17:27)

From the chaos of Creation through the destruction of the Flood we now arrive at the upheaval of family change. Avram and Sarai leave everything they’ve known for the hinterlands of Canaan (with a few stops along the way). They encounter suspicion, engage in deception, attempt mis-direction and experience supernatural visitation. Abraham washes feet and Sarah laughs. In return, Abraham is blessed... read more

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