Parashat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

“This day, Adonai your God, commands you to perform these decrees and the statutes, and you shall observe and perform them with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 26:16) Parashat Ki Tavo continues the description of rituals to be performed once the Israelites make their way into the land of Canaan: the […]

Parashat Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)

“When you go out as a troop against your enemies, be on your guard against anything untoward.” (Deut. 23:10) Parashat Ki Teitzei contains laws regarding individuals and their obligations to their families and neighbors around them. One such law is to build a parapet on the roof of a new house to prevent someone falling […]

Parashat Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)

And you shall not erect for yourselves a pillar, which the Lord your God hates.” (Deut. 16:22) Parashat Shoftim opens with the command, “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your cities-which God gives to you-for your tribes…” (Deut. 16:18). It turns out this is the most observed of all the Torah’s commandments…but not […]

Parashat R’eih (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:12)

“Bear in mind that you were slaves in Egypt, and take care to obey these laws.” (Deut. 16:12) Parashat R’eih is the Torah’s response to anyone who says, ”I have no choice.” It opens by declaring, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse, “(Deut. 11:26) and continues to explain following the […]

Parashat Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

“Love, therefore, the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His laws, His rules, and His commandments.” (Deuteronomy 11:1) Parashat Eikev offers a front-row seat for the unfolding of a Jewish idea. Moses tells the Israelites to, “…love your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave to him.” (Deut. 11:22) This […]

Parashat Va-etchanan (Deut. 3:23-7:11)

“You shall say to your child, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and God took us out of Egypt with a strong hand.’” (Deuteronomy 6:21) Parashat Va-etchanan includes both the Ten Commandments and the Sh’ma (Hear O Israel…), making it the summer “blockbuster” of weekly parashot (plural of parasha, or portion). This presentation of […]

Parashat D’varim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

“The Lord our God spoke to us at Chorev, saying, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.’” (Deuteronomy 1: 6) Parashat D’varim opens the fifth and final book of the Torah (also called D’varim and known in English as Deuteronomy). D’varim comprises five speeches by Moses who begins by reprising the desert experience (which […]

Parashat Masei (Numbers 33:1-36:13)

“These are the journeys of the Israelites who started out from the land of Egypt, troop by troop, in the charge of Moses and Aaron.” (Numbers 33:1) Parashat Masei is the last parasha (portion) in the book of Numbers and lists the 42 stops the Israelites made in the desert. It declares, “Moses recorded the starting […]

Parashat Mattot (Numbers 30:2-32:42)

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,” Avenge the Israelite people on the Midianites; then you shall be gathered to your kin.” (Numbers 31:1) Parashat Mattot provides a rebuttal to the familiar adage, “Talk is cheap.” Mattot begins by declaring the inviolability of men’s vows. It continues with laws permitting fathers to annul their young daughters’ […]

Parashat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)

“And you shall put of your honor upon him, that all the congregation of Israel may hearken.” (Numbers 27:20) Parashat Pinchas heralds two impending transitions. First, the census of military-age men indicates the Israelites are done wandering in the desert and must prepare to enter and conquer Canaan. Second, the appointment of Joshua as the […]

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