A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: VA’EIRA (EXODUS 6:2-9:35)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   Last week’s Torah parsha, Shemot, ended with Moses and Aaron both discouraged, as the Pharaoh of Egypt denied their request to free the enslaved Israelites. This week’s parsha, Va’eira, describes with precise detail, the first seven of the ten plagues which would eventually decimate all of Egypt. A […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: SHEMOT (EXODUS 1:1-6:1)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   The opening chapters of Exodus plunge us into a midst of epic events. Moses passes from Prince of Egypt, to Midianite shepherd, to leader of the Israelites. The narrative begins with a new Pharaoh of Egypt, “who did not know of Joseph” (1). However, the descendants of Jacob […]

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: 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: 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 that 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 […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: CHAYEI SARAH (GENESIS 23:1-24:67)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   The translation of this week’s Torah parsha, Chayei Sarah, is ‘The Life of Sarah’. Ironically, only the first two lines of the parsha pertain to the death of Sarah and no other aspect of her life is even mentioned again. Rashi wrote that the death of Sarah is […]