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Torah Talk for Parashat Tzav

March 19, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, Hashem tells Moshe to describe to the cohanim (priests) the rituals for some of the offerings; the cohanim then undergo the process of ordination. We have lost touch with the idea that sacrificial offerings were part of the day-in and day-out life of the ancient Jews. When they sinned, they brought an […]

Torah Talk for Parashat Vayikra

March 13, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, God commands Moshe regarding various types of korbanot (animal and vegetative offerings): what they should consist of and under what circumstances they should be offered. This parasha illustrates and elucidates an often misunderstood principle in the Torah. Rashi is fond of quoting the Talmud in Masechet Pesachim 6b: “There is no chronological order in the Torah.” This does […]

Torah Talk for Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei

March 5, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In these parshiyot the Bnei Yisrael bring so many materials for the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) that Moshe tells them to stop; Betzalel and Oholiav, gifted craftspeople, construct the elements of the Mishkan. The work of constructing the Mishkan is completed; Moshe receives the command to anoint its vessels and to anoint Aharon and […]

Torah Talk for Parashat Ki Tisa

February 26, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, Hashem continues describing the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to Moshe; the people worship the Aygel Hazahav (Golden Calf), Moshe pleads on their behalf, and Hashem forgives them. The so-called “Thirteen Attributes of God” are found in this parasha. However, given the way Hebrew grammar and syntax operate, we could translate the relevant verses into […]

Torah Talk for Parashat Tetzaveh

February 20, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, God describes to Moshe the clothing and anointing process of the kohanim (priests). An old joke goes as follows: A man comes to the rabbi and says that he wants to be a kohen (a member of the priestly order). The rabbi says, “I’m sorry, it doesn’t work that way, you cannot […]

Torah Talk for Parashat Terumah

February 13, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, Hashem instructs Moshe to collect gifts from Bnei Yisrael in order to build a Mishkan (Tabernacle) so that Hashem can dwell among the people; Hashem describes to Moshe the vessels and structures that comprise the Mishkan. The parasha begins with a description of all of the ornate trappings of the Mishkan. But […]

Torah Talk for Parashat Mishpatim

February 6, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, Moshe informs the people of numerous ethical and ritual laws and seals the brit (covenant) between the Bnei Yisrael and Hashem. In the middle of this parasha, we encounter four verses that seem quite relevant and topical to us today. Chapter 22, verses 20-23, tell us: “And a stranger you shall not […]

Torah Talk for Parashat Yitro

January 31, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, suggests a system for establishing lower courts to settle disputes; and Hashem articulates the Aseret HaDibrot (Ten Commandments) to the Bnei Yisrael amidst fire, smoke, and sounds of the shofar. We often translate Aseret HaDibrot as “The Ten Commandments,” as I did above, but they are not really Ten […]

Torah Talk for Parashat Beshalach

January 23, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

After the Bnei Yisrael cross the Reed Sea in safety while Paro’s army drowns, they sing praises to Hashem; in response to their complaints about a lack of food and water, Hashem gives them manna and water; they are then attacked by Amalek. The Song of the Sea, which the people sang after they crossed […]

Torah Talk for Parashat Bo

January 16, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

This week’s parasha tells the story of the last three plagues, the preparations that the Bnei Yisrael needed to make in order to leave Mitzrayim, and the actual exodus itself. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (19th Century Germany) has an interesting take on the order of the plagues. He connects the plagues to the original prophecy about Egyptian bondage that […]

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