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

B’shalach – בְּשַׁלַּח (Exodus 13:17−17:16)

This Week’s Torah Portion: B’shalach – בְּשַׁלַּח (Exodus 13:17−17:166)

Freedom Song
Cantor Lauren Adesnik 4.17.2020

My strength is
my song.
My song
Is
Adonai.
The Sea
Was…
A disaster.
Moses praying.
Precious
Objects hurled
Thrown to churning currents
As if
Their value would stop the chaos.
The tears of my people-
They are more than enough to
Fill
A hundred seas.
So I jumped.
I slid and slipped,
And Moses prayed, and precious stones flew, and tears fell…
And I sang.
As I felt my last breath leaving my body
The salt water filling my crevices
The song erupted.
Michamocha BaElim Adonai, MiKamocha Ne’edar Bakodesh?
Who is like you, Adonai?
I sang the sea apart.
I sang my people to the desert beyond sight lines.
I sang them to the shores, and then they sang too.
For my song is my strength, 
And God is my Song, so God is my strength.
And God is their song and their strength too.
God is all of ours.
Ozi V’zimrat Yah
God is
our song,
our strength,
our redeemer.
Now what will we do with our freedom?

Parsha B’shalach – בְּשַׁלַּח Torah Summary:

The Children of Israel escape across the Sea of Reeds from Pharaoh and his army, who drown when God drives back the sea. (13:17-14:31) Moses and the Israelites sing a song praising Adonai. (15:1-21) In the wilderness, God provides the grumbling Israelites with quails and manna. God instructs the Israelites to gather and prepare on the sixth day food needed for Shabbat. (15:22-16:36) The people complain about the lack of water. Moses hits a rock with his rod and brings forth water. (17:1-7) Israel defeats Amalek, Israel’s eternal enemy. God vows to blot out the memory of Amalek from the world. (17:8-16) B’shalach – בְּשַׁלַּח
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

Bo – בֹּא (Exodus 10:1−13:16)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Bo – בֹּא (Exodus 10:1−13:16)

Going into Uncertainty with Confidence
Cantor Lauren Adesnik

וַאֲנַ֣חְנוּ לֹֽא־נֵדַ֗ע מַֽה־נַּעֲבֹד֙ אֶת־יְהֹוָ֔ה עַד־בֹּאֵ֖נוּ שָֽׁמָּה׃

Va-anachnu  lo-neida mah-na’avod et-Adonai ad-bo’einu shama.

“and we shall not know with what we are to worship יהוה until we arrive there.” Exodus 10:26

Moses stands before Pharoah, once again demanding that Pharoah free the Israelite people. Pharoah goads Moses and tries to bargain with him, “leave behind your livestock,” Pharoah says, and you may go. Moses’ reply demonstrates strength and faith. Men, women, children, and all livestock will come with us, says Moses, because “we shall not know with what we are to worship God until we arrive.” At this moment, Moses has no idea of what’s to come. Moses is following a direct calling from God guided by his faith.

May we find the faith, strength, and inspiration to enter the unknown like Moses. Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Written in the Vilna Ghetto, the song Zog Nit Keynmol, became an anthem of the underground resistance movement. Song to an Unknown Partisan expresses the same faith and courage Moses exudes as he stands up to Pharoah. Let us remember, even in our darkest days, we are here, we are moving forward together.

Never say this is the final round for you,
Though leadened skies may cover over days of blue.
As the hour that we longed for is so near,
Our step beats out the message- we are here!
From lands so green with palms to lands all white with snow,
We shall be coming with our anguish and our woe,
And where a spurt of our blood fell on the earth,
There our courage and our spirit have rebirth.
The early morning sun will brighten our day.
And yesterday with our foe will fade away.
But if the sun delays and in the east remains-
This song as password generations must maintain.
This song was written with our blood and not with lead.
It’s not a little tune that birds sing overhead.
This song a people sang amid collapsing walls,
With grenades in hands they heeded to the call.
Therefore never say the road now ends for you,
Though leadened skies may cover over days of blue.
Ast the hour that we longed for is so near-
Our steps beats out the message- we are here!

Parsha Bo – בֹּא Torah Summary:

God sends the plagues of locusts and darkness upon Egypt and forewarns Moses about the final plague, the death of every Egyptian firstborn. Pharaoh still does not let the Israelites leave Egypt. (10:1-11:10) God commands Moses and Aaron regarding the Passover festival. (12:1-27) God enacts the final plague, striking down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt except those of the House of Israel. Pharaoh now allows the Israelites to leave. (12:29-42) Speaking to Moses and Aaron, God repeats the commandments about Passover. (12:43-13:16) Bo – בֹּא
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

Va-eira – וָאֵרָא (Exodus 6:2−9:35)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Va-eira – וָאֵרָא (Exodus 6:2−9:35)

Obstructed Lips Free Speech

וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר מֹשֶׁ֔ה לִפְנֵ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר הֵ֤ן בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֹֽא־שָׁמְע֣וּ אֵלַ֔י וְאֵיךְ֙ יִשְׁמָעֵ֣נִי פַרְעֹ֔ה וַאֲנִ֖י עֲרַ֥ל שְׂפָתָֽיִם׃ {פ}
Vay’dabeir Moshe Lif’nei Adonai, leimor hen, ‘B’nei Yis’ra-el lo sham’u ei-lai v’eich yish’ma-eini Pharoah va’ani aral s’fataim.
But Moses appealed to יהוה, saying, “The Israelites would not listen to me; how then should Pharaoh heed me, me—who gets tongue-tied!”

Rashi translates the phrase “aral s’fataim” as obstructed. Among the many proof texts he offers, he includes the following:

“their ear is עֲרֵלָה (a-ra-lei)— stopped up so that it will not hear-Jeremiah 6:10  

“עַרְלִי (a-ra-li)in heart” — their hearts are closed so that they will not understand; -Jeremiah 9:25

 עֲרַ֥ל (a-ral) elevates the underlying currents at play in this parsha. The Israelites are not open to hearing Moses, Pharoah’s heart repeatedly opens and then closes again. Moses’s physical impediment also reflects deep emotional and psychological impediments. He is truly blocked- physically he cannot express the words he needs to, and one might imagine, his fear and apprehension are now heightened as he must face his tragic past and uncertain future all in the same moment.

Yet, Moses does what many would not. He surrounds himself with support- in this case, God and his brother Aaron, and steps into the lion’s den.

What obstructions are you facing in this moment? Who do you need to surround yourself with so that you might feel able to take the next step into your lion’s den? Va’eira Adonai- and God appeared. How is God appearing to you in this moment?

Parsha Va-eira – וָאֵרָא Torah Summary:

Despite God’s message that they will be redeemed from slavery, the Israelites’ spirits remain crushed. God instructs Moses and Aaron to deliver the Israelites from the land of Egypt. (6:2-13) The genealogy of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and their descendants is recorded. (6:14-25) Moses and Aaron perform a miracle with a snake and relate to Pharaoh God’s message to let the Israelites leave Egypt. (7:8-13) The first seven plagues occur. God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh rescinds each offer to let the Israelites go. (7:14-9:35) Va-eira – וָאֵרָא
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

Sh’mot – שְׁמוֹת (Exodus 1:1−6:1)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Sh’mot – שְׁמוֹת (Exodus 1:1−6:1)

“Out of the Mountain of Despair a Stone of Hope[1]”_Shemot 2023 by Cantor Lauren Adesnik

וְכַאֲשֶׁר֙ יְעַנּ֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ כֵּ֥ן יִרְבֶּ֖ה וְכֵ֣ן יִפְרֹ֑ץ וַיָּקֻ֕צוּ מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

V’cha’asher y’anu oto kein yir-beh v’chein yif’rotz va-ya-ku-tzu mi-p’nei b’nei Yis’ra-el.

But the more they [the Israelites] were oppressed, the more they increased and spread out, so that the [Egyptians] came to dread the Israelites.

Exodus 1:12

18th Century commentator Or HaChaim, one of the founding members of the European Hasidic movement offers an interpretation through a lens of Jewish mystysism. Referencing the Zohar (literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah)  he concludes that the more The more persecution the Israelites suffered the more “good” was released from what had been only a mixture of good and evil previously. With the release of that “good”, i.e. good qualities, the Israelite families merited having more and more children.

This abundance of procreation not only elevated the blessings of the Israelites, it brought forth a new generation and a sense of renewed faith and hope for the future. This concept still rings true today. The more oppression many marginalized communities face today, the more good will rise from that oppression if we center ourselves with a firm foundation of faith and hope.

This weekend as we begin our journey from slavery to freedom as detailed in the book of Exodus, we celebrate and remember one of the most remarkable prophets of the 20th century Martin Luther King Jr.  We cannot equate our story with that of our brothers and sisters here in America, yet we stand together as brothers, sisters and fellow human beings in continuing to rise above the marginalization and oppression that faces us today.

Hope is  our launching pad.  It is the light that illuminates our path.  It is hope that keeps us moving forward when all seems lost, or the finish line seems impossibly far away. As we face the rise of antisemitism, racism, and divisive community, let hope motivate our action to “go high, when everyone else goes low.”

Shabbat Shalom


[1] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a Dream” Washington, D.C. August 28th, 1963

Parsha Sh’mot – שְׁמוֹת Torah Summary:

The new king of Egypt makes slaves of the Hebrews and orders their male children to be drowned in the Nile River. (1:1-22) A Levite woman places her son, Moses, in a basket on the Nile, where he is found by the daughter of Pharaoh and raised in Pharaoh’s house. (2:1-10) Moses flees to Midian after killing an Egyptian. (2:11-15) Moses marries Zipporah, the daughter of Midian’s priest. They have a son named Gershom. (2:16-22) God calls Moses from a burning bush and commissions him to free the Israelites from Egypt. (3:1-4:17) Moses and Aaron request permission from Pharaoh for the Israelites to celebrate a festival in the wilderness. Pharaoh refuses and makes life even harder for the Israelites. (5:1-23) Sh’mot – שְׁמוֹת

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