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

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant The final Parsha, BECHUKOTA, in the Book of LEVITICUS 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 will […]

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

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah, Congregant This week, as we near the end of the Book of Leviticus, we read the next to last Parsha in this Book. The primary themes of Parsha (BEHAR) are laws and commandments, pertaining to freedom, equality, and charity with ‘dignity’. The Lord spoke to Moses and said: “Tell the […]

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

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 […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: KEDOSHIM (LEVITICUS 19:1-20:27)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant This week’s Torah Parsha (KEDOSHIM) begins with the momentous call: “You shall be holy because I, the Lord, your God am holy” (1). This statement is followed by repetition of dozens of ‘Divine’ commandments, which would enable the Israelites to consecrate their holy relationship with God. This Parsha is […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: ACHAREI MOT (LEVITICUS 16:1-18:30)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant The Parsha, which we read this week, is ACHAREI MOT. The primary focus of the Parsha pertains to the ancient rituals of the very first ‘Day of Atonement’. During the period of MISHNAH (i.e. the first major redaction of the Oral Torah) in the second century, the Jewish calendar […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: METZORA (LEVITICUS 14:1-15:33)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant Last week, we read Parsha (TAZIRA), which introduced us to the bizarre malady of ‘TZARAAT’. In effect, this was considered a physical evidence of a spiritual failing, disclosed in a myriad of dermatological disorders. The mystery shrouding parsha (TAZIRA) was the absence of any specific transgression, or identification of […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: TAZIRA (LEVITICUS 12:1-13:59)

This week’s Torah Parsha (TAZIRA) is extraordinary, not for its content; but, for its absence of content. TAZIRA has been labeled “the Torah Parsha least likely to be studied” (1). It has also been accused of having “challenged and confused generations of Torah scholars, as well as legions of rabbinical students” (2) To understand the […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: SHEMINI (LEVITICUS 9:1-11:47)

For several weeks and many chapters- – the longest prelude in the Torah – – we have read of the preparations for the moment at which God would bring His Presence to rest in the midst of the people. Five Torah Parshiot (TERUMAH, TETZAVEH, KI TISA, VAYAKHEL, and PEKUDI) all describe the instructions for building […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: TZAV (LEVITICUS 6:1-8:36)

The primary theme of last week’s Torah Parsha (VAKIRA) pertained to the five diverse sacrifices, which the Israelites presented at the Sanctuary. On the surface, this week’s Torah Parsha (TZAV) appears to be merely an extension of Parsha (VAKIRA), differentiated solely by the focus shifting to the kohanim, who were the recipients of the various […]