A ‘BISSEL’ OF TORAH Parashat Tol’Dot (Genesis 25:19 – 28:9)

by Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant Parsha TOL’DOT presents an ancestral tale that haunts us with its themes of cunning and deception. As the narrative proceeds, we feel the pain of both the tricked and the trickster. We realize that each of the characters is caught in a web of relationships, a web of words, true […]

A ‘BISSEL’ OF TORAH Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1 – 25:18)

‘CHAEI SARAH’ poses an interesting dichotomy between ‘LIFE’ and ‘DEATH’. The literal translation of the title of this week’s Parsha is: ‘Sarah’s Life’. However, when we begin reading the Parsha, Sarah has already died; and, Abraham, in deep mourning, is searching for a burial place for her. The biblical text moves immediately to Abraham’s next […]

A ‘BISSEL’ OF TORAH Parashat VaYera (Genesis 18:1 – 22:24)

When I was growing up, my neighbor had a beautiful poster hanging in her window.  It said “If you want Peace, Work for Justice.”  Every time I went over to her house I would read it to myself and it became an injunction for the way that I walk through the world.  I believe that […]

A ‘BISSEL’ OF TORAH Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1 – 17:27)

This week’s Torah Parsha begins by G-D speaking to Abram, “Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house to the land which I will show you” There, G-D says, will eventually be a great nation. Abram, his wife, Sarai, and his nephew, Lot, journey to the land of Canaan. Abram builds […]

A ‘BISSEL’ OF TORAH Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9 – 11:32)

A considerable amount of time has passed between the introduction of Adam and Eve, and this week’s Parsha. The parsha begins with an instruction to Noah from G-D, “You are the only righteous man in a world consumed by violence and corruption” He tells Noah to build a large wooden ark, claiming that “a great […]

A ‘BISSEL’ OF TORAH Parashat KI TAVO (DEUTERONOMY 26:18-29:8)

This Parsha begins as Moses continues his last speech before the Israelites. “When you dwell in the promised land, take a selection of the first fruits and bring them to the place G-D chooses for G-D’s Name. With a Priest beside you, make an offering saying: ‘We remember when we were slaves in Egypt. We […]

A ‘BISSEL’ OF TORAH Parashat SHOFTIM (DEUTERONOMY 16:8 – 21:9)

Taking into account circumstances and life-style in Biblical times, compared to life in the late 1770’s, G-D’s words, warnings, and directives are hauntingly similar to those written in the U.S. constitution and the Bill of Rights. First, G-D instructed every Jewish community to appoint a ‘Judge’, and officials for each tribe. The mission of these […]

A ‘BISSEL’ OF TORAH Parashat EIKEV (DEUTERONOMY 7:12- 11:25)

The heart of our worship service is our declaration of love and loyalty to the one and unique G-D – – -the prayer that we know as ‘SHEMA’. The first six words are deeply embedded in every Jew’s soul – ‘Here O’ Israel, the Eternal is our G-d; the eternal is one. (1). There are […]

A ‘BISSEL’ OF TORAH Parashat DEVARIM (DEUTERONOMY 1:1 – 3:22)

The Parsha, DEVARIM is comprised primarily of a complete repetition of the Torah, spoken by Moses to the Israelites, in the last days before his passing. In fact, the translation of the Hebrew word ‘DEVARIM’ is ‘re-telling’. It is somewhat extraordinary that throughout Moses’ recalling of each event, each commandment, each transgression, and each miracle […]