parashat hashavua Balak: Jewish camping

This week’s parashah is once again curiously, albeit appropriately, named, this time for a king who is hostile to the Jewish people and suspicious of them; or so it seems. King Balak of Moab is concerned about the Israelites approaching his kingdom and camping nearby. His response is to act to defend his borders, notContinue reading “parashat hashavua Balak: Jewish camping”

parashat hashavua Hukat: listening for the bat kol

The parashat hashavua, the Torah reading of the week read all over the Jewish world, is called Hukat – “law”. There are two words often used for “law” in the Torah: hukah, or hok, and mishpat. You will often see them mentioned together, and they are usually translated with words that seem like synonyms to us:Continue reading “parashat hashavua Hukat: listening for the bat kol”

parashat hashavua Korakh: Makhloket

Our concept for the week is makhloket, which means “argument” or “disagreement” but comes from a root that can also mean “slippery”. It is a Hebrew word with impressive pedigree. In the Talmud, our Sages explain that there are two kinds of makhloket, that which is “for the sake of heaven” and that which is “notContinue reading “parashat hashavua Korakh: Makhloket”

parashat hashavua: Shelakh-L’kha: They Might Be Giants

This week’s parashah teaches about the challenge of going forth into uncharted territory. This, of course, is what we face all the time; but many of us fear it, avoid it, and do a bad job of coping with it despite the experience we all have of change in our lives.  High school seniors lookContinue reading “parashat hashavua: Shelakh-L’kha: They Might Be Giants”