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

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant Last week’s Torah Parsha (BALAK) was somewhat fanciful and surreal; ending 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)

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 justified in his fears and anxieties. He […]

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 a riddle. The Torah Parsha begins: “This is the statute of the Torah which the Lord commanded…”(1), and proceeds […]

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 people […]

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 Israelite’s 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 men, […]

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

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant Shortly after a year of 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 that via God’s instructions to Moses, they will soon be leaving Mount […]

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 both […]

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 consolidate to comprise 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, seemingly incoherent directives and laws. The first of the Parshiot […]

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

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant Last week’s Torah Parsha (BALAK) was somewhat fanciful and surreal; although, ending 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 […]