A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: V’ETCHANAN (DEUTERONOMY 3:23-7:11)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   In last week’s Torah parsha, Devarim, we heard the words of Moses as he explained to the Children of Israel the sins and transgressions committed by their ancestors, with the consequence that God banned them from entering the ‘Promised Land.’ He also explained why he also would not […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: DEVARIM (DEUTERONOMY 1:1-3:21)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant This week’s Torah parsha, Devarim, is the first in the last book of the Torah, Deuteronomy. The entire book denotes a major shift from each of the four earlier Books. We read how Moses served as the liaison between God’s Word and the Israelites; their leader and teacher for […]

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, but […]

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

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah 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 […]