A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: MATOT-MASSEI (NUMBERS 30:2-36:13)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   This week, we read a double parshiot, Matot-Massei, which comprises the finale of the Book of Numbers. The contents of these parshiot are remarkable for the discontinuity of the narrative, the paradoxical elements of God’s commandments, and incoherent directives and laws. The first of the parshiot, Matot, begins […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: PINCHAS (NUMBERS 25:10-30:1)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   Last week’s Torah parsha, Balak, was fanciful, surreal and ended in tragedy when thousands of Israelites lost their lives as a consequence of being lured into illicit relations with the Moabite women. Parsha Pinchas transitions to more serious themes, which include not just a diverse set of narratives, […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: BALAK (NUMBERS 22:2-25:9)

By Joy Scott, Am Hasklah Congregant   Parsha Balak begins with the Israelites continuing their journey to Canaan. They have already defeated their enemies in many nations and have settled their next encampment on the border of Moab. Based on the victories the Israelites had achieved in other nations, Balak, the King of Moab was […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: CHUKAT (NUMBERS 19:1-22:1)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   In an almost imperceptible yet seismic shift, this week’s Torah parsha, Chukat, jumps several decades ahead in the journey of the Israelites and its narrative reads like a riddle inside of a riddle. The parsha begins: “This is the statute of the Torah which the Lord commanded…”(1) and […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: KORACH (NUMBERS 16:1-18:32)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   In last week’s Torah parsha, Shelach, twelve ‘spies’, after scouting the land of Canaan for forty days, returned with a blatantly exaggerated falsehood pertaining to the strength and size of the inhabitants. With the exception of Joshua and Caleb, the other ten men rejected the assumption that the […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: SHELACH (NUMBERS 13:1-15:41)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   In last week’s Torah parsha, Behaalotecha, we read about the Israelites turbulent saga of disillusionment with their way of life in the desert. This week’s parsha, Shelach, takes a new and momentarily promising turn with a look towards the future. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Send out […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: BEHAALOTECHA (NUMBERS 8:1-12:16)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   Shortly after a year after being rescued from Egypt, this week’s Torah parsha, Behaalotecha, provides a glimpse into Moses’ psyche, as well as the state of mind of the Israelites. The Children of Israel have just learned, via God’s instructions to Moses, that they will soon be leaving […]

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 to […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: BEHAR (LEVITICUS 25:1-26:2) BECHUKOTAI (LEVITICUS 26:3-27:34)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah, Congregant   This week, we read a double parshiot, the finale of the book of Leviticus. The primary themes of parshiot Behar and Bechukotai 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 […]