Monthly archives for May, 2015

Naso (Take a census)


Numbers 4:21 to 7:89 The subject of the Nazarite is discussed in this week’s text. Only the laws regarding the Nazar are presented. A look at the customs and rituals of the Temple era explain why people turned to the Nazarite traditions. The census referred to in this portion’s title is a continuation of the […]

B’midbar – Torah In Haiku


  First day, second month … Year two since leaving Egypt … Intermission’s done — This week we begin the fourth of Moses’s five books. But it’s been just a little more than a year since our ancestors crossed the parted waters of the Sea of Reeds, and only one month since the Tabernacle was […]

B’midbar (In the wilderness)

B'midbar -In the Wilderness

Numbers 1:1 to 4:20 This week we begin a Book of Torah with two common titles … a Hebrew title – B’midbar (in the wilderness) and an English title – Numbers. Each give us a different perspective to the Book. Like many portions of Torah… and the titles of the Books… the name is based […]

Behar/Bechukotai – Torah In Hai...

Behar /Bechukotai

  The faithful are blessed … The faithless suffer curses … But still, forgiveness — Bechukotai begins with blessings (Leviticus 26:3-9): “If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments … I will look with favor upon you … and I will maintain My covenant with you … “ Then warns of curses (Leviticus […]

B’har / B’chukotai (On th...


B’har – Leviticus 25:1 to 26:2 B’chukotai – Leviticus 26:3 to 27:34 The Sabbatical year (every 7 years) and Jubilee Year (every 50 years) are explained. The comments that follow show the effects of these celebrations on the people of Israel. Again we have a double portion. These parshot conclude the book of Leviticus. B’har […]

Emor – Haiku In Torah


Contact with the dead … Forbidden for Kohanim … Except for close kin — Leviticus 21:1-2 “God said to Moses: Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: None shall defile himself for any dead among his people, except for the relatives that are closest to him: his mother, his father, […]

Emor (Say)


Leviticus 21:1 to 24:23 This portion contains one of only two narrative episodes found in Leviticus. This story, about a man who spoke the Lord’s name in blasphemy. Although his punishment – the death penalty – may seem severe, we find many legal traditions rooted in the story. “The Eternal One said to Moses: Speak […]

Acharei Mot/Kedoshim – Torah In...

  Seeking holiness … In how we behave each day … The “code” is found here — The chapters of Torah often called “The Holiness Code” begin in this week’s double portion. So called because of the numerous repetitions of the phrase “You shall be holy”, it includes many ethical commandments. These laws provide guidelines […]

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