A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: NASO (NUMBERS 4:21-7:89)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   This week’s Torah parsha, Naso, begins with a continuation of last week’s parsha, Bamidbar, completing the census of the Children of Israel and assigning the intricate details of the tasks to be performed by each individual tribe in the transporting of the Tabernacle. With 176 verses, Naso is […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: BAMIDBAR (NUMBERS 1:1-4:20)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   Last week, we concluded the reading of the Book of Leviticus with the reading of parsha Bechukotai. This week, we begin the Book of Numbers with plans to dismantle the Tabernacle and to rebuild it further into the wilderness. In the second year of the Exodus, God spoke […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: BECHUKOTAI (LEVITICUS 26:3-27:34)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   The final parsha in the book of Leviticus, Bechukotai, begins with stunning clarity of the terms of Jewish life under the covenant. In the first part, there is an idyllic picture of the blessing of Divine favor. If the Israelites follow God’s decrees and keep His commandments, there […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: BEHAR (LEVITICUS 25:1-26:2)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah, Congregant   This week, we read parsha Behar, the penultimate portion of Leviticus. The primary themes of Behar are laws and commandments pertaining to freedom, equality and charity with ‘dignity’. The Lord spoke to Moses and said: “Tell the Children of Israel, you may sow your field for six years, […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: EMOR (LEVITICUS 21:1-24:3)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah, Congregant   This week’s Torah parsha, Emor, begins with God saying to Moses: “Speak to the Kohanim, and say that none of them can become defiled, impure, or ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person, unless the one who died is a wife or a blood relative”(1). The requisite for […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: KEDOSHIM (LEVITICUS 19:1-20:27)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   This week’s Torah parsha, Kedoshim, begins with the momentous call: “You shall be holy because I, the Lord, your God am holy”(1). This statement is followed by repetition of dozens of ‘Divine’ commandments, which would enable the Israelites to consecrate their holy relationship with God. This parsha is […]

Jane’s Kitchen: Chilled Thai Melon Soup

2 cups seedless watermelon, diced  2 cups cantaloupe, diced  2 cups crenshaw or honeydew, diced  1 tablespoon sriracha sauce  1 tablespoon sweet chile sauce  1 cup unsweetened coconut milk  2 tablespoons lime juice  1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated  1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped  2 tablespoons fresh thai basil, chopped 3 tablespoons fresh mint, minced  1 […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: ACHAREI MOT (LEVITICUS 16:1-18:30)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   This week, we read Acharei Mot, which has the primary focus of the ancient rituals of Yom Kippur, the ‘Day of Atonement’. During the period of the Mishnah (i.e. the first major redaction of the Oral Torah) in the second century, the Jewish calendar was altered so that […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: METZORA (LEVITICUS 14:1-15:33)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   Last week, we read parsha Tazria, which introduced us to the bizarre malady of ‘Tzara’at.’ In effect, this was considered physical evidence of a spiritual failing, disclosed in a myriad of dermatological disorders. The mystery shrouding parsha Tazria was the absence of any specific transgression, or identification of […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: TAZRIA (LEVITICUS 12:1-13:59)

By Joy Scott Am Haskalah Congregant This week’s Torah parsha, Tazria, is extraordinary not for its content, but for its absence of content. Tazria has been labeled “the Torah parsha least likely to be studied”(1). It has also been accused of having “challenged and confused generations of Torah scholars, as well as legions of rabbinical […]