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

Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19)

This week Moses continues his detailing of the laws, and one caught my eye this year: (21:15-17) If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, but the first-born is the son of the unloved one — when he wills his property to his sons, he may not treat as first-born the son of the loved one in disregard of the son of the unloved one who is... read more

Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9)

Parsha Shoftim deals a lot with the idea of equity, fairness, equality, and keeping Israelite society on an equal footing. It talks about how a king (should the Israelites choose one in the future) should behave and be guided; how to set up a court of law; how to deal with unsolved murders (this was before the days of “CSI: Jerusalem”); and more. Most notable in this portion is the phrase... read more

Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17)

In parashat Re’eh, we get back down to the nitty-gritty of Jewish life. Some of the key points this week are the commandment not consuming blood (stated twice for emphasis), to destroy the idols and worship places when entering Canaan, the need to gather 3 times a year (Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot), and to avoid false prophets. It could be interpreted that the central theme in all of this is doing that... read more

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