Skip links

Main navigation

Posts by David Ackerman

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

 “Aaron and all the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant; and they shrank from coming near him.” (Exodus 34:30) Parashat Ki Tisa covers a lot of territory: the Israelites lose faith during Moses’ long absence up on Mt. Sinai and worship the Golden Calf. God decides to annihilate them and start … Continued

Parashat T’tzaveh (Exodus 27:30-30:10)

“Place it in front of the curtain that is over the Ark of the Pact- in front of the cover that is over the Pact-where I will meet with you” (Exodus 30:6). Parashat T’tzaveh opens with instructions for the Israelites to bring olive oil to Moses, to give to Aaron, “…l’haalot ner tamid, to raise … Continued

Parashat T’rumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

“Place the cover on top of the Ark, after depositing inside the ark the Pact that I will give you” (Exodus 25:21). Parashat Trumah begins,” The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the Children of Israel that they take me a t’rumah, a gift; take t’rumati, my gift, from every person whose heart so … Continued

Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)

“If you take your neighbor’s garment in pledge, you must return it to him before the sun sets; it is his only clothing, the sole covering for his skin. In what else shall he sleep?…” (Exodus 22:25) Parashat Mishpatim includes a list of 52 varied mitzvot, or commandments, defining personal responsibility. It is the Torah’s … Continued

Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-2:23)

“And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you shall speak to the Children of Israel” (Exodus 19:6). Parashat Yitro introduces the Ten Commandments, arguably the thirteen most influential sentences in world history. Scholars have parsed the meaning in every word (and letter) with endless … Continued

Parashat B’shalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16)

“You guided in your kindness this people you have redeemed: You led them in your strength to your holy abode” (Exodus 15:13). Parashat B’shalach’s blockbuster main act presents God’s splitting the Red Sea to deliver the Israelites from slavery to liberty. However, the opening verse of the parasha, or portion, hints at the real hurdle … Continued

Parashat Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)

“And Moses said, ‘We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds we will go; for we must make a feast for the Lord’” (Exodus 10:9). Parashat Bo describes the final two plagues, darkness and the slaying of the Egyptian … Continued

Parashat Va’era (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

“Plead with the Lord that there may be an end of God’s thunder and of hail. I will let you go; you need stay no longer” (Exodus 9:28). Parashat Va’era describes the first seven plagues God inflicts upon Pharaoh and Egypt. Each time Pharaoh refuses to free the Israelites, God sends another plague. When the … Continued

Parashat Sh’mot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

“A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.” (Exodus 1:8) Parashat Sh’mot opens the second book of the Torah (also called Sh’mot) by describing Pharaoh’s enslavement of the Children of Israel. God’s choice of Moses to lead them to freedom provides a subtle continuity with the book of Genesis and offers a … Continued

Parashat Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

“And Pharaoh said, ‘Go up and bury your father, as he made you promise on oath” (Genesis 50:6). Parashat Vayechi describes the end of the patriarchal era: Jacob blesses his sons and dies. Vayechi continues, saying, “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘What if Joseph still nurses hatred for us…’” … Continued