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Posts by David Ackerman

Parashat B’ha-alot’cha (Numbers 8:1-12:16)

“Thus shall you separate the Levites from the among the children of Israel; and the Levites shall be mine.” (Numbers 8: 14) Most professionals know the letters CEU refer to continuing education units, a recognized measure of in-service (as opposed to pre-service) training. Not so many know the idea of continuous learning is rooted in … Continued

Parashat Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89)

“Let them place My Name upon the Children of Israel, and I shall bless them.” (Numbers 6:27) Parashat Naso (Hebrew for “lift up”) is the longest portion in the Torah with 176 verses. Included among them are three short verses which are among the Torah’s most oft repeated: “God bless you and safeguard you. God’s … Continued

Parashat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20)

“These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses on the day that the Lord spoke with Moses on Mt. Sinai.” (Numbers 3:1) Parashat Bamidbar opens the fourth book of the Torah, also called Bamidbar, in the wilderness. Rabbi Isaac Meir Rothenberg, founder of the Ger Chassidic dynasty, notes this parasha, (portion) always falls just … Continued

Parashat B’chukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34)

“I will place my sanctuary among you; and My Spirit will not reject you.” (Leviticus 26:11) Parashat B’chukotai is the last parasha, or portion, in the book of Leviticus. It lists the blessings the Israelites will receive for following God’s commandments—and a list of curses for not following. Hidden within this exposition of reward and … Continued

Parashat B’har (Leviticus 25:1-26:2)

“You shall observe My laws and faithfully keep My rules, that you may live upon the land in security. (Leviticus 25:18) Parashat B’har should be required reading for every candidate in this year’s election. It describes the shmita (the seventh, or Sabbatical Year), when the land lies fallow and debts are cancelled. After seven cycles … Continued

Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

“You shall count for yourselves—from the morrow of the rest day, from the day when you bring the omer of the waving—seven weeks, they shall be complete.” (Leviticus 23:15) Parashat Emor includes a list of the holidays in the Jewish calendar (one of five such lists in the Torah). A careful reading reveals something interesting. … Continued

Parashat K’doshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27)

“You shall faithfully observe all my laws and all my rules: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:37) The book of Leviticus is considered the heart of the Torah because it’s the middle book. Parashat K’doshim is considered the heart of Leviticus, making it the heart of the heart of the Torah. It is known as … Continued

Parashat Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1-18:27)

“Carry out my laws and safeguard my decrees to follow them; I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 18:4) Yehuda Kurzer (President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America) says we study ancient Jewish texts for the light they shed on contemporary life. Parashat Acharei Mot is a good example. Acharei Mot begins with … Continued