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Posts by David Ackerman

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

“The Priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the Lord, in front of the curtain of the Shrine” (Leviticus 4:6). Anyone walking past a bakery who is stopped by the aroma of freshly baked bread experiences the answer to an important question posed by Parashat Vayikra. … Continued

Parashat P’kudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38)

“And when Moses that they had performed all the tasks-as the Lord had commanded, so they had done-Moses blessed them” (Exodus 39:43). Parashat P’kudei provides an accounting of all the materials used to build the mishkan, or Tabernacle, and describes, again, the priestly garments. Then Moses blesses the Israelites and sets up the mishkan, closing … Continued

Parashat Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20)

“You shall kindle no fire throughout your settlements on the Sabbath day.” (Exodus 35:3) In Parashat Vayakhel Moses relays God’s instructions for building the mishkan, or Tabernacle, to the Israelites. He announces two master artisans to oversee this sacred project: Betzalel ben Uri and Oholiav ben Achisamach. They are chosen because they possess God’s spirit, … Continued

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