Parsha Vayechi: Accepting Ourselves, Blessing Ourselves

This week’s Torah portion is one of the shortest, and it marks the end of the story of Jacob, Joseph, and his brothers. Jacob lives in Egypt for his last seventeen years. Before he passes, he asks Joseph to take an oath to bury him in the Holy Land. Jacob wants to reveal the end […]

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Parhsa Vayeishev: Thinking Outside Our Spiritual Boxes

This week’s Torah portion, or parsha, is called Vayeishev, which translates to “And he lived…” It is taken from the book of Genesis. It is a dramatic piece, full of deception, jealousy, and resilience. It begins with a description of Jacob, the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom G-d made a covenant, and […]

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VaYishlach: Releasing our Inner Israel

This parsha, or Torah portion, VaYishlach, which means to drive out or release, tells the story of the reuniting of Yaakov (Jacob) and his brother Esau, and, more specifically, describes the transformation of Yaakov to  Yisrael (Israel), meaning the one who has struggled with the Divinity–and humanity–and prevailed. Yaakov spends the night before his reunion […]

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Parsha Chayei Sarah: Chesed in Brooklyn

This week’s Torah portion, or parsha, is called Chayei Sarah, meaning “the life of Sarah”, is so named because its first few words tell us that Sarah lived 127 years. The Torah portion then proceeds with the story of Sarah and her husband Abraham’s family. One section of the portion tells us that Abraham sent […]

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Vayeira: Welcoming & Renewal

This week’s parsha, or Torah portion, is called Vayeira, which translates as “He appeared.” Some of the most famous moments in the Torah take place in this parsha: Early on in the portion, G-d promises Sarah, who is 90 years old, that within a year she will give birth. A year later, as G-d promised, […]

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Matot Masei: Treating Our Community With Dignity

This parsha, or Torah portion, Matot, and the next, Masei, conclude the fourth book of the Torah and attempt to summarize the Israelites’ 40 years in the desert and their imminent entrance into the Land of Israel. Matot describes some very unsettling instructions from G-d: the brutal punishment of the Midianites for their role in […]

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Balak: Seeing Things More Clearly

This week’s parsha, or Torah portion, comes from the book of Numbers and is called Balak, so named for the king of Moab who features prominently in this particular story. The Israelites had settled in Moab and Balak, intimidated and disgusted by their numbers, sent for the prophet Balaam to come to Moab and curse the Jews. […]

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Chukat: To Sit With Suffering

This week’s Torah portion, Chukat, meaning decree, is filled with suffering. It begins with the ritual law for purification after a person comes in contact with someone who has died, including the strange ritual involving the red heifer. Then Miriam dies. Afterwards, the Israelites suffer from thirst and their own inner turmoil as they wrestle […]

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Shelach: Finding Our Inner Promised Land

In this week’s parsha (Torah portion), Moshe decides to allow a reconnaissance mission with a team of scouts, one person from each tribe, to scope out the Promised Land while the rest of the Jewish people stay in the desert. It says, “You shall see what [kind of] land it is, and the people who […]

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Beh’alotcha: Birthright Or Human Right?

Beha’alotcha, Hebrew for “When You Step Up”, is the third parsha, Torah portion, in the Book of Numbers. The parsha opens in the midst of a long list of instructions from G-d about the upkeep of the tabernacle; specifically, the special role of the Levites as servants of the high priest. Then it abruptly turns to […]

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