A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: LECH LECHA (GENESIS 12:1-17:27)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   This week’s Torah parsha, Lech Lecha, begins with God’s words to Abram: “Go forth from your birthplace to the land which I will show you; and I will make you into a great nation, bless you and aggrandize your name”(1). The writers of the Midrash had many obvious […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: NOACH (GENESIS 6:9-11:32)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   This week’s Torah parsha begins: “These are the generations of Noah; Noah was a righteous man for this generation; Noah walked with God”(1). Numerous commentaries have emerged, pertaining to the implication that ‘Noah was a righteous man’. In a rare ‘Torah Moment’, Torah scholars are actually in agreement […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: BEREISHIT (GENESIS 1:1-6:8)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   “In the beginning of God’s creation of the heavens and earth, God said: “Let there be light; and there was light”(1). The first Torah parsha of the Book of Genesis, Bereishit, is probably the most familiar of any other portions of the Torah. The wondrous origination of the […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: VAYIGASH (GENESIS 44:18-47:27)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   Last week’s parsha, Mikietz, ended with a somewhat disturbing enigma. Jacob’s ten sons had returned to Egypt to procure additional food as the famine continued. Based on the demand of the ‘Viceroy of Egypt’ (now, their brother Joseph, whom they did not recognize), they were also to bring […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: VAYECHI (GENESIS 44:28-50:26)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   In last week’s Torah parsha, Vayigash, Joseph became overwhelmed with emotion when he learned that his father, Jacob, was still alive. He revealed his identity to his eleven brothers and urged them to bring his father and all of their wives and children to Egypt. The brothers were […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: MIKEITZ (GENESIS 41:1-44:7)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   Twelve years pass, with Joseph still languishing in an Egyptian jail. Suddenly, he finds himself not only free, but also the ‘Viceroy’ of Egypt. The swiftness with which this change occurred was nothing short of a miracle. One night, the Pharaoh of Egypt had two highly disquieting and […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: VAYEISHEV (GENESIS 37:1-40:23)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   For more than two decades, Jacob lived with the guilt and knowledge of his own iniquity, against both his brother, Esau, and his beloved father, Isaac. In last week’s Torah parsha, Vayishlach, we read how the burden of these emotions quickly evaporated when Jacob went to Canaan and […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: VAYISHLACH (GENESIS 32:4-36:9)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   In last week’s parsha, Vayetzei, we read the convoluted and multifarious twenty years which Jacob experienced while living with his Uncle Laban. In parsha Vayishlach, with immense trepidation, Jacob follows God’s orders to return to his birthplace in Canaan. He is terrified of the inevitable encounter with his […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: VAYEITZEI (GENESIS 28:10-32:3)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   This week’s parsha, Vayetzei, begins with Jacob on the run from his family and home. Although he leaves with his father, Isaac’s birthright and blessing, these were obtained under false pretenses. His mother, Rebecca, heard his brother, Esau, mutter that he intended to kill Jacob for this deception. […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: TOLDOT (GENESIS 25:17-28:9)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   This week’s parsha presents an ancestral tale, which haunts us with its theme of cunning and deception. As the narrative proceeds, we realize that each of the characters presented in Toldot is caught in a web of relationships, a web of words, true and false, from which they […]