D-VAR TORAH: A LOOK AT THE TORAH PORTION OF THE WEEK
Each week we will share different commentaries on the Torah portion and/or the holiday.
Saturday, May 23, 2020
BAMIDBAR, NUMBERS 1:1-4:20
In Hebrew, Bamidbar means “in the wilderness” although the English name is Numbers. In this book of the Torah, the reader journeys along with the Israelites from Mt. Sinai through the physical wilderness before they arrive at the Promised Land. But it is not only an untamed place where they stay for decades, but an untamed emotional state in which they live. There is skepticism about reaching their eventual destination. They are afraid of what is to come of them. They doubt their own vision. Will there be a happy ending to their journey in the wilderness? In this COVID-19 time, we can see a parallel with many of our own emotions.
Saturday, May 16, 2020
BEHAR-BECHUKOTAI, LEVITICUS 25:1-27:34
The Eternal One spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: “Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a sabbath of the Eternal.”
“In this Torah portion, God describes the laws surrounding resting the land and crops every seven years, as well as the Jubilee year every 50 years. God permits the use of slaves but provides stipulations including the obligation to eventually free your slaves” –MyJewishLearning.com
Saturday, May 9, 2020
EMOR, LEVITICUS 21:1-24:23
This Torah portion gets its name from the word by which God tells Moses to “speak” the “Holiness” laws to the priests. The priests had special duties and special laws were given to them, which set them apart from the rest of the Israelites.
In today’s COVID-9 world, which group of people is being given special status? Think healthcare workers, food providers and emergency responders.
Saturday, May 2, 2020
ACHAREI MOT, LEVITICUS 16:1-18:30
“Acharei Mot, the first of this week’s two parashiyot begins on an unsettling note — a reminder of the death of Aaron’s sons and the suggestion that such tragedies might occur again unless the priests take specified steps to prevent them” — Rabbi Richard Levy
My rules alone shall you observe, and faithfully follow My laws: I the Lord am your God. – Leviticus 18:4
What good are rules if you can bend them?
We need a nanny who is disciplined and stern.
With boys and girls you don’t befriend them.
I fear that Marry Poppins has a lot to learn.
— Sung by George Banks in the musical “Mary Poppins“
Saturday, April 25, 2020
TAZRIA, LEVITICUS 12:1 – 13:59
For many of us, the Torah portions of Tazria and Metzora have never felt so relevant. While in years past there was a great sense of distance from the confusing descriptions of biblical skin afflictions, the quarantine of afflicted Israelites…it feels difficult to escape their prescience during our current global pandemic. (As a matter of fact, there was a recent essay published on thetorah.com exploring all of the parallels between COVID-19 and the treatment of Ancient Near Eastern contagious disease.) As we all struggle with the challenges of social distancing and the uncertainty of the future, I believe that insights into the details of our parshiyot can provide us with points of reflection for our present reality. – Rabbi Rogoff
Saturday, April 18, 2020
SHEMINI (also spelled Sh’mini), LEVITICUS 9:1-11:47
Saturday, April 11, 2020