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 […]

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 […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: VAYEIRA (GENESIS 18:1-22:4)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   Towards the end of last week’s parsha, Lech Lecha, we read of the supernatural birth of Isaac to Sarah and Abraham. At the time, Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was in her nineties, well beyond child-bearing age. God made a covenant with Isaac, circumcising him eight […]

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: HAAZINU (DEUTERONOMY 32:1- 32:5)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   Every year, either in proximity, or during the ‘Ten Days of Repentance,’ we read the penultimate Torah parsha, Haazinu. It is no coincidence that when we are experiencing a heightened sense of spirituality, we are enjoined to hear Moses’ final words to The Children of Israel. For a […]

A ‘Bissel’ of Torah: VAYELECH (DEUTERONOMY 31:1-31:30)

By Joy Scott, Am Haskalah Congregant   This week’s Torah parsha, Vayelech, is both heartrending as well and inspirational. It begins with Moses speaking the following words to the Children of Israel: “Today, I am one hundred and twenty years old; and the Lord has told me that I will not cross the Jordan with […]