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Torah Commentary Blog

Temple Emanu-El’s weekly Torah commentary is prepared by members of our clergy, senior staff, Religious School faculty and Saturday morning Torah Study group. An electronic version can be sent to your email inbox each Monday morning by subscribing to our electronic mailing list. Blog comments will be moderated. Please note that we reserve the right to delete comments that are deemed inappropriate, use offensive language, promote personal attacks or are self-serving (promote goods and services). At the same time, we hope that this blog will promote thoughtful dialogue and continued learning.

Parashat B'haalot'cha (June 25, 2016)
By Missy Bell
THERE IS A LOT HAPPENING IN THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION. The Israelites are in the midst of their journey in the desert. God gives them various rules about their travel, including instructing them to remain encamped while the cloud hangs over the Tabernacle and to break camp when the cloud lifts. The Israelites might remain encamped for days or weeks at a time. All the Israelites have to eat during the years of travel is manna, and their dissatisfaction with this diet becomes clear in this Torah portion.

Continue reading Missy’s commentary »

Sunday June 19th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)

Parashat Naso (July 18, 2016)
By Gila Drazen
NASO ALWAYS HAS BEEN A TORAH PORTION THAT I HAVE FOUND FASCINATING. One of the things I find most compelling about this parashah is the way that it’s divided; each of the first four sections carries a significant punch.

Continue reading Gila’s commentary »

Sunday June 12th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)

Parashat B'midbar (June 4, 2016)
By Rachel Brumberg
THIS WEEK WE START READING THE FOURTH BOOK OF THE TORAH. Our Torah portion takes its name from this book: B’midbar. B’midbar translates to “in the wilderness” and thus sets the scene for where this book takes place. The English name for this book is “Numbers” and is equally as telling, as this week’s parashah starts with a census of the Israelites. Tribe by tribe the generations were listed and counted as they stood in the Sinai desert. They also were told where to camp and in what order to march.

Continue reading Rachel’s commentary »

Sunday June 5th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)

Parashat B'chukotai (June 4, 2016)
By Bettijane Eisenpreis

This parashah is called B’chukotai, but its first words are actually Im behukotai telehu. (Literally, “If you my laws follow.”) The redactors of the Torah didn’t bother with little words like im (if) in selecting titles for the parashiyot (portions) of the five books of the Torah. But our tradition teaches us that every word of the Torah is important, and any child can tell you that no word is more important than “if.”

Continue reading Bettijane’s commentary »

Sunday May 29th | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)

Parashat B'har (May 28, 2016)
By Rachel Brumberg
WHAT WOULD YOU be willing to do for the promise of food and security?

In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat B’har, we learn of the Sabbatical and Jubilee laws that pertain to farming and personal property including land and slaves. This passage comes near the end of the Book of Leviticus, where we have been reading about the laws God gave to Moses and the Israelites. There are many laws, so there is a lot to adhere to, to say the least. And most (if not all) of these laws must have seemed foreign to the Israelites back then. (And to us today!)

Continue reading Rachel’s commentary »

Sunday May 22nd | Post a comment/View comments » (0 comments)

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