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Posts by David Ackerman

Parashat Vayeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3)

“Early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.” (Genesis 28:18) Parashat Vayeitzei describes Jacob’s flight from Canaan to Haran to escape his brother Esau’s anger. Along the way, he dreams his famous dream … Continued

Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:8)

“And his father Isaac answered, saying to him, ‘See, your abode shall enjoy the fat of the earth and the dew of heaven above.’” (Genesis 27: 39) Parashat Toldot is all about relationships and conflict, both real and conceptual: Esau versus Jacob, Rachel versus Isaac, trust versus betrayal, and truth versus falsehood. Because of all … Continued

Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

“And it came to pass after Abraham’s death, that God blessed Isaac, his son; and Isaac settled by the well Lachai Roi.” (Genesis 25:11) Parashat Chayei Sarah opens with Sarah’s death and closes with Abraham’s death. In between, most of the parasha, or portion, describes the search for a bride for Isaac. Chayei Sarah states: … Continued

Parashat Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24)

“The Lord appeared to him by the terebinths of Mamre; he was sitting at the entrance of the tent as the day grew hot.” (Genesis 18:1) Parashat Vayeira opens with Abraham making a huge fuss over three strangers (who turn out to be angels) passing by his tent. Since Abraham interrupts a revelation from God … Continued

Parashat Lekh Lekha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

“Now Abram was very laden with livestock, silver, and gold.” (Genesis 13:2) In Parashat Lekh Lekha God plucks Abram from obscurity and commands him to“…Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.” (Gen. 12:1) This is a physical journey; Abram must … Continued

Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

“Noah was six hundred years old when the flood came, waters upon the earth.” (Genesis 7:6) PaRDeS, the Hebrew word for orchard (referring to the Garden of Eden) is an acronym summarizing the Jewish interpretive tradition. It describes four ways to read and understand any Torah text: P stands for p’shat, the simple, literal reading; … Continued

Parshat B’reishit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

“God said, ‘See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food.’ ” (Genesis 1:29) On Simchat Torah we read V’zot Habracha, the closing parasha, or portion, of the Torah and then return to B’reishit, the opening parasha, immediately. … Continued

Yom Kippur (Leviticus 16:1-16:34)

“Blow the shofar on the new moon, on the full moon for our feast day. For it is a law for Israel, a ruling of the God of Jacob.” (Psalm 81:4,5; Yom Kippur Liturgy) “Sh’ma yisrael …, Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4) is the essential statement of … Continued

Parashat Ha-azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52)

“Remember the days of old: reflect upon the years of other generations. Ask your father and he will tell you; your elders and they will inform you.” (Deuteronomy 32:7) Ha-azinu opens with Moses’ final song: “Ha-azinu hashamayim…, Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; v’tishmah ha-aretz…, and may the earth hear the words of … Continued