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Weekly Torah Portion

Parshat Pinchas: You Can Look, Moses, But Do Not Touch

Josh Fleet | Posted 09.12.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

"Pinchas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest has calmed my anger," God tells Moses. "Through his violent and vengeful zealotry, he has saved the Children of Israel. For this I give him my covenant of peace. And for endless days will he be a priest."

Passing The Mantle: Moses And The Challenges Of Succession

Rabbi Or Rose | Posted 09.11.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Or Rose

We all know how complicated it can be for a community to deal with such transitions and the power the outgoing and incoming leaders have in shaping this experience. Here, Moses rises to the challenge.

Parshat Balak: A Talking Donkey And The Curses That Became Blessings

Josh Fleet | Posted 09.04.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

alak, the king of Moab, sees everything Israel has done. He sees the fate of the Amorites. His people become sick with fear. Balak fears them too.

Parshat Chukat: Some Things Are Beyond Understanding

Josh Fleet | Posted 08.29.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

Bring a perfect red heifer, God says. One that's never worked the field. Give the cow to the priest Eleazar, who must take it outside the camps of Israel and have it slaughtered.

Parshat Shelach Lecha: Seeing What You Want To See

Josh Fleet | Posted 08.14.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

"Send scouts, one from each tribe, distinguished leaders all of them, to explore Canaan," God tells Moses. So Moses selects Shammua, Shaphat, Caleb, Igal, Hosea (aka Joshua), Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Gemalli, Sethur, Nahbi and Geuel.

Parshat Beha'alotecha: This Is What Happens When You Complain

Josh Fleet | Posted 08.08.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

Tell Aaron, God says to Moses, that when he sparks the fire of the candelabrum, the light of each branch should be directed toward the center. Aaron ignites the lamps just so.

Curb Your Appetite: Numbers 8:1-12:16

Rabbi Sid Schwarz | Posted 08.05.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Sid Schwarz

We need to approach the act of eating in a way far more mindful than is currently the case. In this week's biblical portion, Beha'alotcha, we have perhaps the archetypical biblical story of what consumption looks like without mindfulness.

Parshat Naso: What Do You Give To God?

Josh Fleet | Posted 08.01.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

The priests should say to everyone, using God's name: May God bless you and keep you. May God cause the Divine Face to shine upon you and favor you. May God turn toward you and grant you peace.

Breaking the 'Stained Glass' Ceiling: Women And Numbers 4:41-7:89

Rabbi Naamah Kelman | Posted 07.29.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Naamah Kelman

This week's Torah portion, Naso, is a dramatic reminder of women's vulnerability. One of the most notorious ordeals regarding women is found within it.

Parshat Bamidbar: Collecting The Names

Josh Fleet | Posted 07.24.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

One year, one month and one day after the Exodus. God speaks to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the desert at Sinai, telling him: Take a census of the Children of Israel. Count their names. All the men, 20 years of age or older.

Parshat Behar-Behukotai: Blessings, Curses And A Shabbat For God

Josh Fleet | Posted 07.18.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

When you come to the Promised Land, the earth should rest. A Shabbat to God. Sow your fields for six years. Prune your vineyard for six years. Gather the produce for six years. In the seventh year, give it a rest. A Shabbat to God.

When Is Idealism Idolatry? Leviticus 25:1-27:34

Yehuda Kurtzer | Posted 07.15.2012 | Religion
Yehuda Kurtzer

I fear sometimes that in our efforts to create more just societies, we can become self-righteous, indulging in the idolatrous practice of worshipping our own ideals.

Parshat Emor: Bring Your First Fruits

Josh Fleet | Posted 07.11.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

You should be willing to die rather than transgress these commandments in the presence of other Children of Israel. God is God, who sanctifies you and brings you out of Egypt. God is God.

God's Challenge

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D. | Posted 07.07.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D.

It is a simple yet profound challenge -- be holy, imitate God in our own lives. It is the fundamental lesson that for Jewish civilization, the ultimate goal of life is not "happiness," it is "holiness."

Parshat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim: Don't Try This At Home (Or Anywhere Else)

Josh Fleet | Posted 07.03.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

God tells Moses to tell Aaron not to come before the Holy of Holies regularly -- so that he will not die like his sons Nadab and Abihu -- because the Divine Presence appears there as a pillar of cloud always.

Parshat Tazria-Metzora: Physical Affliction, Spiritual Remedy

Josh Fleet | Posted 06.26.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

If a person is found to have real tzara'at, his clothes should be torn, his hair should be grown and he should act otherwise like a mourner. He should cry out: "I am ritually impure! I am ritually impure!" Over and over.

Leviticus 12-15: Whom Do We Send Outside the Camp? Israel Past and Future

Rabbi Arthur Green | Posted 01.04.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Green

Leviticus essentially creates a primitive quarantine system. The idea is that the "camp" of Israel -- the tribes still wandering in the wilderness after leaving Egypt -- is to be kept pure.

Parshat Shemini: A Strange Fire

Josh Fleet | Posted 06.08.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

The eight day. Moses calls for Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. "Take a young bull as a sin-offering," he says to Aaron, "to atone for the Golden Calf."

Parshat Tzav: A Pleasant Aroma For God

Josh Fleet | Posted 06.08.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

God speaks to Moses again, telling him to command Aaron more about the priestly sacrificial offerings.

Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei: Come Together For God's Sake

Josh Fleet | Posted 06.08.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

Israel atones. Next day, Moses gathers everyone together. "These are the things God commands: Work for six days. The seventh is holy for you. Rest completely then. Do work and die. Do not kindle a fire in our home on this Sabbath day."

Parshat Ki Tisa: Sin So Soon?

Josh Fleet | Posted 06.08.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

Later, after the dust settles, God speaks to Moses: "Uplift the people. Let each give one half Shekel as soul atonement. Twenty years and older. Rich and poor. All give the same."

Parshat Tetzaveh: A Nation Of Priests

Josh Fleet | Posted 05.01.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

And command the Children of Israel: Bring pure, clear, ready-to-light olive oil to ignite the lamp so that it may burn continually. Aaron and his sons should arrange it so that it will burn from night to morning.

Parshat Terumah: How To Build A Sanctuary For God

Josh Fleet | Posted 04.24.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

All of this, God says to Moses: Say to Israel, "Dedicated to God a contribution." Then, collect my offering from every heart-inspired person

Parshat Yitro: The Children Of Israel Stared Up At The Mountain

Josh Fleet | Posted 04.10.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

Enter Jethro, the high priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moses. He's heard all about God's kindness to the Israelites: the redemption from Egypt, the split sea, the war with Amalek, the manna and the water in the desert.

Parshat Beshalach: A Song The Ocean Heard Us Sing

Josh Fleet | Posted 04.03.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

The land of Canaan is 11 days away from Egypt, but God doesn't send the Israelites straight there. "Too soon," God thinks. "They are not ready. I'll send them on a roundabout route instead."