TORAH TIDBIT

Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David.
Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot Mishpatim

Haazinu (Deuteronomy 32:1–52)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Haazinu – הַאֲזִינוּ (Deuteronomy 32:1–52)

Who is this Moses?

This week’s Torah Portion, Haazinu, presents “The Song of Moses”, a poem of incredible beauty and power, delivered by Moses to the Children of Israel as his final instructions before they set forth into the Promised Land. So striking are its poetic tones that it is written uniquely in the Torah scroll, separated into two small columns of text which flow down the page like the running rhythms of the song.

Who is this Moses?

Wasn’t it Moses who said, when God first called him to lead the People of Israel on this 40 year journey from slavery to freedom:  “I have never been a man of words… I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Surely, the Song of Moses cannot have been written by the same man who needed the help of his brother Aaron to even speak God’s words. Unless, of course, Moses has grown immensely over the course of these forty years, learning and growing from the experience of raising a new generation of Israel, now ready to enter the Promised Land.
Who are we?

What a wonderful lesson this would be, as we emerge from these High Holy Days. This is the same Moses, he has just grown over time and through experience… and so can we. Now, the question is no longer “Who is this Moses?” but “Who are we?” And who can we yet become?

May these High Holy Days inspire us to become the better self which resides within us all.

Parsha Haazinu Torah Summary:

Moses sings his last song, a love poem to God and a chastisement of the people, who are not worthy of Adonai. (32:1–6) The poem recounts the blessings that God has bestowed on the Israelites, the wicked deeds they have committed, and the punishments that God then inflicted upon them. (32:7–43) God tells Moses to begin his ascent of Mount Nebo, from where he will see the Land of Israel from a distance but will not be allowed to enter it. (32:45–52) Haazinu
Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot Mishpatim

Vayeilech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Vayeilech – וַיֵּלֶךְ (Deuteronomy 31:1–30)

“Moses wrote down this Torah and gave it to the priests, sons of Levi, who carried the Ark of God’s Covenant, and to all the elders of Israel. And Moses instructed them…you shall read this Torah aloud in the presence of all Israel.”  (Deuteronomy 31:9)

This week’s Torah Portion, Vayeilech, contains it’s own D’var Torah. It contains the actual commandment for the Children of Israel to read the words of Torah for all to hear. This is the reason we are here still today. For all our wandering, for all we have lost and all we have learned over these three thousand years and more since Moses spoke these words, the Torah has abided within us and its teachings have kept us strong. 

We are today a much different people than our ancestors who stood on the banks of the Jordan river receiving these words of Torah, and yet our values, our culture, and our faith remain – because we have carried the Torah, heard its words and made them our own, in every generation of our people. L’dor vaDor, from generation to generation, may these words of Torah live on – in our lives, and the justice we bring to our world. 

Parsha Vayeilech Torah Summary:

Moses prepares the people for his death and announces that Joshua will succeed him. (31:1–8) Moses instructs the priests and the elders regarding the importance of reading the Torah. (31:9–13) God informs Moses that upon his death, the people will commit idolatry and “many evils and troubles shall befall them.” God tells Moses to teach the people a poem that will “be My witness.” (31:14–30) Vayeilech
Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot Mishpatim

Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Nitzavim – נִצָּבִים (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20)

This week’s Torah Portion, Atem Nitzavim, begins: 

You stand here this day before Adonai your God: you, your leaders, your tribal chiefs, your elders, your magistrates, every man of Israel, your children, your women, and the converts in your camp – from your woodcutters to your drawers of water. All of you have entered into this covenant before Adonai your God…  And it is not with you alone that I am making this covenant.  I am making it both with those who are standing here with us today before Adonai our God, and with those who are not here with us today.

Having listed every possible member of the community of Israel, the Torah tells us that all had a part in the making of God’s covenant, even those who were not there that day. So, who could the Torah be referring to? Who were the Children of Israel who were  “not here today”? The midrash teaches us that the Torah refers here to the generations of Israel yet to come. In other words, the Torah refers here to us.

We, all of us, stood at Sinai that awesome day. We, all of us and the generations yet to come, stood there – along with every generation of our people – as we set our feet upon the path of Torah which has carried us forward even unto this day.  We relive this moment each High Holy Days when again we read these words and stand together as one, just as we did once long ago at Sinai, to begin again on the path of Torah, to begin again on the path to the building of a better world.

This year we may not all be able to physically stand together as we read these words, within the sacred walls of our congregation, but this year, as we do every year, all of us, we stand together as one.

Parsha Nitzavim Torah Summary:

Moses tells the assembled people that God’s covenant speaks to them and to all of the generations who will follow. (29:9–14) God warns the Israelites that they will be punished if they act idolatrously, the way the inhabitants of the other nations do. (29:15–28) Moses reassures the people that God will not forsake them and that they can attain blessings by following God’s commandments. (30:1–20) Nitzavim Moses tells the assembled people that God’s covenant speaks to them and to all of the generations who will follow. (29:9–14) God warns the Israelites that they will be punished if they act idolatrously, the way the inhabitants of the other nations do. (29:15–28) Moses reassures the people that God will not forsake them and that they can attain blessings by following God’s commandments. (30:1–20) Nitzavim
Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot Mishpatim

Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Ki Tavo – כִּי-תָבוֹא (Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8)

This week’s Torah Portion, Ki Tavo, contains within it these most mystical of commands:

“Moses and the levitical priests spoke to all Israel, saying: Silence! Hear, O Israel! Today you have become the people of the Eternal your God. Listen to the voice of the Eternal your God and do God’s commandments and laws, which I command you this day. (Deuteronomy 27:9-10)

Israel is command to be silent so that we can listen to the words of God.

There is a midrash, a legend of our people, that God’s voice has spoken the Ten Commandments from the heights of Mount Sinai continually from the first moment of Creation. The miracle of the moment of receiving the Ten Commandments was not that God spoke, but that the People of Israel heard.  At that moment of moments, God silenced all the noise. No bird chirped, no cow mooed, God silenced even the sounds within them, so that they could hear the words which had been waiting for them there since the beginning.

Rabbi Arthur Green once taught:
Torah is Eternal, it has existed even before the written word.
So what was Torah before there was language?
  A Book filled with silence. A story waiting to be told.

We are a people who, once upon a time, wrote that story we now call Torah.
We are that people still, and with every intention and every deed, we tell that story continually, every day.

Parsha Ki Tavo Torah Summary:

The Israelites are instructed to express their gratitude to God for their bountiful harvests and freedom from slavery by tithing ten percent of their crops for the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. (26) The people are told to display on large stones God’s commandments for all to see. (27:1-8) The Levites are to proclaim curses upon those who violate God’s commandments. (27:15-26) The Israelites are told that if they obey God’s mitzvot faithfully, they will receive every blessing imaginable. They are also told that if do not fulfill their brit with God, many curses will descend upon them. (28:1-69) Moses reminds the Israelites of the miracles they witnessed in the wilderness and commands them to observe the terms of the covenant so that they may succeed in all that they undertake. (29:1-8) Ki Tavo The Israelites are instructed to express their gratitude to God for their bountiful harvests and freedom from slavery by tithing ten percent of their crops for the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. (26) The people are told to display on large stones God’s commandments for all to see. (27:1-8) The Levites are to proclaim curses upon those who violate God’s commandments. (27:15-26) The Israelites are told that if they obey God’s mitzvot faithfully, they will receive every blessing imaginable. They are also told that if do not fulfill their brit with God, many curses will descend upon them. (28:1-69) Moses reminds the Israelites of the miracles they witnessed in the wilderness and commands them to observe the terms of the covenant so that they may succeed in all that they undertake. (29:1-8) Ki Tavo

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