Eighth Day of Passover (Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17)

“You shall observe the month of springtime and perform the pesach offering to the Lord your God, for it was in the month of Aviv, at night, that the Lord your God freed you from Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 16:1) Because the eighth day of Pesach falls on Shabbat, a special holiday reading interrupts the regular cycle […]

First Day of Pesach (Passover) (Exodus 12:21-51)

“At the end of the four hundred and thirtieth year, to the very day, all the ranks of the Lord departed from the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:41) Because the first day of Pesach falls on Shabbat, the regular cycle of parashot (Torah portions) is interrupted by a special holiday reading. Not surprisingly, it focuses […]

Parashat Metzora (Leviticus 14:1-15:33)

“And the priest shall offer then, one for sin offering and the other for a burn offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord…” (Leviticus 15:15) Parashat Metzora describes what happens when someone has tzara-at (a variety of erupting skin diseases), which is accepted as evidence of moral or spiritual failure. […]

“On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” (Leviticus 12:3) Parashat Tazria describes the practices a woman who has given birth must follow. She may not touch anything sacred nor enter the mikdash, or sanctuary (Lev. 12:4). When she completes the waiting period (forty days for a baby boy and eighty […]

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Parashat Sh’mini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

“Fire came forth from before God and consumed the burnt offering and the fat parts on the altar. And all the people saw, and shouted, and fell upon their faces.” (Leviticus 9:24) Seven is a big number in the Torah. The seventh day is Shabbat. The seventh month is Tishrei, when we celebrate Rosh Hashana […]

Parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

“This is the law of the guilt offering; it is most holy.” (Leviticus 7:1) Parashat Tzav describes how to offer the sacrifices listed in last week’s parasha (portion) and concludes with Aaron’s and his sons’ ordination as kohanim, or priests. This is one of the reasons the book of Leviticus is considered Torat Kohanim, or […]

Parashat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26)

“The priest shall provide him atonement before Adonai, and it shall be forgiven him for any of the things he might do to incur guilt.” (Leviticus 5:26) Parashat Vayikra opens the third book of the Torah (also called Vayikra). It gives detailed instructions on how to offer the various sacrifices in the mishkan, or Tabernacle. […]

Parashat Vayakhel-P’kudei (Exodus 35:1-40:38)

“The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34) Parashat P’kudei completes the description of the construction and assembly of the mishkan, or Tabernacle, the primary focus of the last five parashot, or portions. It also is the last parasha in Exodus. P’kudei’s last words are, “For […]

Parashat Vayakhel-P’kudei (Exodus 35:1-40:38)

“The leaders brought the shoham stones and the stones for the settings for the ephod and the breastplate.” (Exodus 35:27) Last week, Moses explains to God why it would be a mistake to destroy the Israelites. This week God returns the favor by explaining to Moses why it would be a mistake e to refuse […]

Parashat Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35)

“God said, “My Presence will go with you and I will accede to your request.” (Exodus 33:14) God is a slow learner. Fortunately, Moses is an excellent teacher who does some significant “managing up” this week. In Parashat Ki Tisa the Israelites lose faith during Moses’ absence up on Mt. Sinai and worship the Golden […]

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