Nitzavim - Weekly Torah Portion

The Torah provides a realistic view of the world. A view that claims that the blessings and the curses come hand-in-hand. “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you” – is what we read in the portion of the Torah we read this Shabbat. That is, we can expect throughout our lifetime to enjoy blessings and have to deal with the consequences of curses. Both are a result of our doings but not necessarily a godly plague that falls unexpectedly upon us. This can be concluded from the argument that we also read this week, “It is not in heaven,… Nor is it beyond the sea,… the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart

Ki Tavo - Weekly Torah Portion

This week’s reading portion of the Torah includes, in Deuteronomy chapter 28, blessings and curses even though there does not seem to be a logical proportion between the two. “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments… All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God.” These blessings are detailed in only fourteen verses. It is a totally different story when it comes to cursing. “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you” These curses a

Ki Teitzei - Weekly Torah Portion

The memory of being slaves must be well engrained in the DNA of the Jewish people. It is a memory that is the basis of our moral conduct towards each other. In this week’s portion of the Torah this comes up again, “you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.” And also, “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.” These words are said with respect to demands made, “You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.” and, “When you reap your harvest in your field and have fo

Shoftim - Weekly Torah Portion

There is no doubt that the issue of judgement and its implementation is paramount to the biblical story. For us it may seem at times illogical or inconsistent. A sentence like “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” However immediately after that we read, “You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the Lord your God, which you shall make for yourself. You shall not set up for yourself a sacred pillar which the Lord your God hates.” This seems totally disconnected – what kind of connection has worship have with justice? The Torah, so it seems, takes a different point o

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