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Posts by Yael Warach

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

“But Jacob had gone on his way, and the angels of God met him.” (Genesis 32:2) Parashat Vayetzei begins with Jacob’s escape from his brother Esau and ends 20+ years later with his escape from his uncle Lavan. Each journey is marked by a dream. Pinchas Peli (1930-1989; Israeli rabbi, essayist, poet, and scholar of … Continued

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

“When the lads grew up, Esau was a man who understood hunting, a man of the field, and Jacob was a single-minded man, living in tents.” (Genesis 25:27) Parashat Toldot introduces Esau and Jacob, twin brothers whose rivalry begins in the womb (Gen. 25:22) and haunts them into adulthood. It also introduces a new genre … Continued

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

“And Isaac went out to commune in the fields toward evening and looking up, he saw camels approaching. (Genesis 24:63) Parashat Chayei Sarah anticipates the lived experience of the Jewish people throughout most of its history in two small words. When Sarah dies, Abraham approaches the local community to purchase a burial plot for her. … Continued

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

“But God had said: “Should I keep from Abraham that which I am doing?” (Genesis 18:17) Parashat Vayeira includes some of the Torah’s most famous scenes: Abraham welcoming strangers into his tent; God destroying Sodom and Gemorah; the Binding of Isaac. Because these stories are so well- known individually, it is easy to overlook the … Continued

Parashat Lekh Lekha (Genesis 12:1-17:2)

“Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, at the terebinth of Moreh. The Caananites were then in the land.” (Genesis 12:6) Parashat Lekh Lekha opens with God’s command to Abram: “Lekh Lekha, go, yourself, from your land, from your birthplace, from your father’s house to the land that I will … Continued

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

“Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, with all your household, for you alone have I found righteous before Me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1) Parashat Noach tells the story of the destruction of the world and its re-creation. It introduces the concept of brit, or covenant, a binding commitment God makes … Continued

Parashat B’reishit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

“And the Lord God made garments of skins for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) Parashat Breishit tells the story of creation. It’s an orderly process, in which everything comes into being in proper sequence: light and dark; heaven and earth; plants and trees; sun, moon, and stars; fish, water creatures, and … Continued

Parashat V’zot Hab’racha (Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12)

“And this is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, blessed the Israelites before he died.” (Deuteronomy 33:1) V’zot Habracha is the last parasha, or portion in the Torah and is read only on Simchat Torah, never for Shabbat. It includes Moses’ final blessing to each of the Israelite tribes and ends with … Continued

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

“The Rock! His deeds are perfect/Yea, all His ways are just/ A faithful God, never false/True and upright is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) Parashat Ha-azinu is the next-to-last parasha, or portion, in the Torah and is the last one read on a regular Shabbat morning. That is because v’Zot Habracha, the last parasha, is read only … Continued

Parashat Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30)

“Be strong and resolute, be not in fear of in dread of them; for the Lord your God marches with you: he will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) Parashat Vayelech is all about transition: Moses announces to the Israelites he will not accompany them into Canaan; Joshua will lead them instead. But … Continued