Va'etchanan - Weekly Torah Portion

As was then today too we absolutely need the comforting words of the prophet Isiah on this Shabbat also known as Shabbat Nakhmu, the Shabbat that begins a sequence of seven prophecies that suggest hope and provide comfort. “‘Comfort, O comfort My people,’ says your God. ‘Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.’” These are not only words of comfort but also a hidden message of reproof. For the sin, the iniquity, the punishment far exceeds the deed. When the prophet calls, “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the

Devarim - Weekly Torah Portion

Forty years have come and gone and in just a few weeks the journey into the Promised Land will commence. Moses stands up before the crowd and begins his summary of the journey. We start our readings from the book of Deuteronomy, the book which summarizes our journey of reading throughout the year of the Pentateuch. We have studied the words many times over and still that image of the old man Moses that jumps out at us from the ancient words, the end of which we know so well, is heartbreaking. A leader who knows his days are numbered. Who realizes that he is not going to be the one to lead his people, the people who he had led through tough days, great challenges and unbelievable miracles. Fo

Matot-Masaei - Weekly Torah Portion

This week we conclude the reading of the book of Numbers, Bamidbar, reading two portions, Matot and Masaei. The long journey towards the Promised Land is nearing its end. The Haftarah is from Jeremiah where he echoes the pondering of our prophets, “What injustice did your fathers find in Me, That they went far from Me And walked after emptiness and became empty? They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and of pits, Through a land of drought and of deep darkness, Through a land that no one crossed And where no man dwelt? I brought you into the fruitful land To eat its fruit and its good thing

Phinehas - Weekly Torah Portion

Leaders are rarely open to listen to words of criticism. Even more so they dislike those who are critical of them and actually take action about it. They tend to lose control over themselves once such a critic is also successful and able to make what is important to them to cease to exist. Fear not, this has nothing to do with today and now, here I am dealing with a case of thousands of years ago and which is described in the Haftarah of this week. “Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them

Balak - Weekly Torah Portion

“My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled And what Balaam son of Beor answered him, And from Shittim to Gilgal, So that you might know the righteous acts of the Lord. With what shall I come to the Lord And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” These are the concluding words that we read from the

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