Amor - weekly Torah portion

At the end of this week’s portion of the Torah, Emor, we are confronted with an interesting story that appears after a variety of commandments. And so the story goes, “Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the sons of Israel; and the Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel struggled with each other in the camp. The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. Now his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. They put him in custody so that the command of the Lord might be made clear to them.” Obviously this is a case where the son of a couple from a mixed marriage had a disp

Acherei Mot and Kedoshim - weekly Torah portion

Once again we find ourselves reading two portions of the Torah on the same Shabbat, this time we are reading from “Acherei Mot” and from “Kedoshim”. Reading them immediately after Memorial Day and Independence Day highlights the content of these readings, maybe shedding new light onto them. The portion of Kedoshim begins with the commandment, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” This holiness has also defined criteria. Some of it has to do with the relationship between us and our God but most of them deal with person-to-person issues. We are therefore required “not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean

Tazria-Metzora - weekly Torah portion

Keeping the body, cloth, household items or the house clean and pure, and ways of doing so, is the crux of the teachings of the two portions of the Torah we read this week. When some suspicious impurity is found it is brought to the priest for examination, or the priest has to attend to the place where such impurity is found. For example, “When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling or a scab or a bright spot, and it becomes an infection of leprosy on the skin of his body” the priest is expected to check that person thoroughly and he may identify that “the hair in the infection has turned white and the infection appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is an infection of lepr

Sh'mini - weekly Torah portion

Kashrut is certainly a tough cookie. In the last chapter of Shmini, the portion we read on this Shabbat, we recite, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘These are the creatures which you may eat”. It is followed by very detailed descriptions on how to determine what creatures are Kosher and which are not. For example, we may eat animals that “divides a hoof, thus making split hoofs, and chews the cud”. There are others which may not be consumed, for example, “the camel, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof” and also “the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud”. There are also laws for creatures that live in the waters. One may ea

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