Torah Portion

Articles on the weekly Torah readings, including inspiration and explanations.

The Bible Lands Museum’s new exhibition displays, for the first time, 2,000-year- old techelet- and

Parashat Shelah: Techelet – a look into infinity

In this week’s Torah portion, Shelah, the nation stands on the threshold of the Land of Canaan, which will later be called the Land of Israel.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
03/06/2021

Parashat Beha’alotcha: Bamidbar and ‘dibur’

This week’s parasha shows us several different kinds of speech illustrate a range of values expressed in language.

26/05/2021

Parashat Beha’alotcha: A journey to the unknown

After about a year of camping near Mount Sinai, the children of Israel began moving toward the Promised Land.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
26/05/2021

Parashat Naso: Samson’s error – and ours

We know how overwhelming the temptation is to put faith in the material world. We all crave things and believe on some level that the proper arrangement of stuff will keep us happy and keep us safe.

19/05/2021

Parashat Naso: Shalom - Peace

Why is peace such a fundamental component of a Jew’s life? And what is the ideal peace for which we yearn?

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
19/05/2021
A ladder stands in front of two paintings by Pablo Picasso at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem; Picass

Parashat Bamidbar: The two titles

There will always be people enchanted by the openness of the world, who neglect the necessity for order.

13/05/2021
MOSES HOLDS his staff at the Battle of Rephidim in this painting titled ‘Victory O Lord!’ (1871) by

Parashat Bamidbar: Ohel Mo’ed: Intimacy & modesty

God’s speaking to Moses – more than reflecting holiness, reflects the intimacy of direct communication and connection with the creator.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
13/05/2021

Parashat Behar-Behukotai: The power of ‘if’

The more we explore “if” the more lightning we find in the word.

06/05/2021

Parashat Behar-Behukotai: An answer of once in a half-century

In the agricultural context in which the Torah was received, land was the main source of income, and owning a lot of land was a source of wealth.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
06/05/2021

Parashat Aharei Mot-Kedoshim: Forgiveness and self-love

If you are not to hold a grudge, what ought one to do?

22/04/2021
Bronze bull idol unearthed at the archaeological site of Olympia

Parashat Aharei Mot-Kedoshim: Respect vs. power

The commandment that envelops this parasha throughout is “You shall be holy!”

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
22/04/2021

Parashat Tazria-Metzora: The school of solitude

Coming off a pandemic, when so many have been isolated, we might be inclined to view all isolation as punitive.

15/04/2021
LEPROSY, PLATE LXX from Prince Albert Morrow, 1889

Parashat Tazria-Metzora: Self-esteem and conceit

From the stories in the Torah of people with leprosy, we can infer what the social impairment is that leads to this impurity: gossip, slandering the name of someone else.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
15/04/2021
THE MISHKAN tent. (Wikimedia Commons)

Parashat Vayakhel – Pekudei: Supplying the stairs

Reading this week’s Torah portion reveals several different staircases connecting the Mishkan and Shabbat.

11/03/2021
‘MOSES WITH the Ten Commandments,’ Philippe de Champaigne, 1648: Why not read them every day?

Parashat Vayakhel – Pekudei: Who produces our medicine?

We notice a phrase that is repeated often while the Torah describes the execution of the directions: “As the Lord commanded Moses.” This phrase is repeated no fewer than 19 times.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
11/03/2021

Parashat Mishpatim: Optimism and pessimism square off

This story is yet another chapter in the battle between Amalek and the Jewish nation.

Mishkan, or Tabernacle in English

Parashat Terumah: Making space

The building of the mishkan did not change God, but it changed Israel. God may be the same everywhere, but we are not.

18/02/2021
MENACHEM MENDEL SCHNEERSON, the beloved Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Parashat Terumah: Who wants imperfect deeds?

How can one uphold both truth and peace, and then go so far as to claim that the world can only exist when both truth and peace exist?

Mishpatim: A continuum of doing and listening

Parashat Yitro and Parashat Mishpatim are seen as a continuum.

Parashat Yitro: The coming of Jethro

Moses shows true emotion upon seeing Jethro.

By NECHAMA GOLDMAN BARASH
04/02/2021

Parashat Yitro: What preceded the receiving of the Torah?

The parasha is called Yitro because it begins with the story of Jethro coming to the Israelites’ encampment.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
04/02/2021
Exodus from Egypt (Edward Poynter)

Parashat Beshalach - What do you carry?

All of us carry a great deal through life – memories, aspirations, relationships, burdens, natural gifts.

28/01/2021

Parashat Beshalach - Exodus from slavery to song

This Shabbat is termed Shabbat Shira for Shirat HaYam, the Song of the Sea, read in this parasha.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
28/01/2021
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