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 […]

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 […]

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

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   The final parsha in the book of Leviticus, Bechukotai, begins with stunning clarity of the terms of Jewish life under the covenant. In the first part, there is an idyllic picture of the blessing of Divine favor. If the Israelites follow God’s decrees and keep His commandments, there […]

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

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah, Congregant   This week, we read parsha Behar, the penultimate portion of Leviticus. The primary themes of Behar 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 sow your field for six years, […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: EMOR (LEVITICUS 21:1-24:3)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah, Congregant   This week’s Torah parsha, Emor, begins with God saying to Moses: “Speak to the Kohanim, and say that none of them can become defiled, impure, or ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person, unless the one who died is a wife or a blood relative”(1). The requisite for […]