Category: Parasha

Home / Parasha
Balak
Post

Balak

CAN A DONKEY SIN? The episode of the talking donkey in this week’s portion reads more like an excerpt from a fairy tale than a passage from the bible. Yet it draws our attention to a fundamental teaching of Jewish philosophy. When the donkey speaks to Bilaam she says: “What have I done to you...

Chukat
Post

Chukat

SPARE THE ROD In the fortieth year of their wandering in the desert, the Israelites arrive at Kadesh. They have no water to drink and they complain to Moses. G-d tells Moses to take the staff and speak to the rock. Instead, Moses strikes the rock. Although abundant water miraculously pours forth, Moses is severely...

Korach
Post

Korach

WHO IS HOLY? When Korach makes a bid to be leader of the Jewish people, he doesn’t assert that he is wiser, richer or more powerful than Moses. He simply says: “All the community are holy. What right do you have to assert yourself over the rest of us?” (Bemidbar 16: 3.) In one sense,...

Shelach Lecha
Post

Shelach Lecha

CATCH 22? The recent TV adaptation of Catch 22 is receiving good reviews. Joseph Heller, in his original 1961 novel, coined the term, Catch 22, to refer to a paradoxical situation where a person can’t escape because of contradictory limitations. The phrase very quickly entered public discourse. Moses is faced with a Catch 22 situation...

Beha’alotecha
Post

Beha’alotecha

THE SEVEN BOOKS OF MOSES This week, we are into Beha’alotcha, the third sidra of the fourth book of the Torah, the book of Numbers or Bemidbar. Yet there is a passage in the Talmud (Shabbat 116a) that states that there are not just five books of the Torah, but seven. The extra two are...

Naso
Post

Naso

WAGON WISDOM With the race now on to see who will become the next leader of the Conservative Part and the next Prime Minister, the challenge for every candidate will be how to unite the party and the country and to heal the wounds of the Brexit campaign. The words of Abraham Lincoln in his...

Shavuot
Post

Shavuot

TORAH FROM HEAVEN The revelation at Mount Sinai was not just a religious event. It was a political event of a unique kind. It was the birth of a nation. Throughout Genesis, the heirs of Abraham had been an extended family. At the beginning of Exodus we hear them for the first time described as...

Bechukkotai
Post

Bechukkotai

HOW HIGH? The late Rabbi Dr. Louis Rabinowitz (1906-1984, Chief Rabbi of South Africa,) was once arriving in Israel and he saw them unload from the El Al plane two coffins that had been flown to Israel for burial. As the coffins were being carefully moved he later recalled: “At that moment I understood the...

Behar
Post

Behar

STRONG HOUSES Continuing uncertainty over Brexit arrangements have led to stagnations in Britain’s property market. In biblical times, over and above economic conditions, there were Torah restrictions in buying and selling land and houses in perpetuity. In summary: Land should not be sold unless there is dire need. Land sold may be redeemed after two...

Emor
Post

Emor

A MEETING OF MOADIM Much of this week’s portion is familiar to us as Parshat HaMoadim, the festival leining for the second of Pesach and the first two days of Succot. The special times, beginning with Shabbat and continuing with Pesach, Omer, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Succot and Shemini Atzeret are listed and described....

  • 1
  • 2
  • 5