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

Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8)

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

This week’s Torah Portion begins with the ritual offering of First Fruits which contains within it the famous phrase from the Passover Seder: “My father was a wandering Aramean…” These words were meant as a reminder that the bounty of our harvest was a gift from God which we who were once wanderers without a land of our own are commanded to share with the less fortunate in our society, those who still wander without a home.

At the end of this carefully scripted ritual come the words: “I have not forgotten.”
The lesson of these words is a simple sermon on the meaning and the purpose of our lives.
When you hold in your hands the first fruits of the harvest of life’s blessings, remember.
Remember and give thanks. Remember to share your blessings. Remember where you came from every step along life’s path. Remember those who helped you to reach this day of blessing. Remember.

Ki Tavo 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)
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

Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19)

This week’s Torah Portion is a cacophonous collection of odd laws and commandments with no apparent order or overarching purpose: We begin with rules of war, followed by laws regarding family, animals, and property; Civil and criminal laws are delineated, laws of sexual relationships, interaction with non-Jews, loans, vows, and divorce; various business laws: fair wages, proper weights and measures. It all sounds like a run on sentence that lasts for four chapters in the book of Deuteronomy, and then it ends with a call to Remember Amalek and all that they had struggled against in their journey from slavery to freedom – now ready to enter the Promised Land.

And then we understand, Moses is saying goodbye. The Children of Israel are stepping forward into their own future. And, like a parent sending a child off to College or to War, or to Work in a far away land, Moses is just rattling off all his final instructions on how to live a good and prosperous life and most importantly, how important it is to remember who you are and how you came here.

Ki Tietzei is a parents prayer, scattered perhaps but heartfelt, a blessing of sorts that we might remember how we came to be standing here this week, so many thousands of years after we set forth on this journey. Ki Teitzei is a blessing from Moses and a hope of remembrance. May this be our blessing.

Ki Teitzei Summary:
Moses reviews a wide variety of laws regarding family, animals, and property. (21:10–22:12)
Various civil and criminal laws are delineated, including those regarding sexual relationships, interaction with non-Israelites, loans, vows, and divorce. (22:13–24:5)
Laws of commerce pertaining to loans, fair wages, and proper weights and measures are given. (24:10–25:16)
The parashah concludes with the commandment to remember for all time the most heinous act committed against the Israelites—Amalek’s killing of the old, weak, and infirm after the Israelites left Egypt. (25:17–19)
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

Shof’tim (Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Shof’tim (Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9)

How many trees are there in the Redwood forest? On the surface, the answer to this question seems unimaginably large. And yet, beneath the surface of the question there lies a deeper response:
One.

Above the surface, the old growth trees of the Redwood National Park cover nearly 39,000 acres of centuries old majestic forest. But, beneath the surface the roots of the trees grow deep and wide intertwining with one another, spreading out their tendrils, reaching out to one another just as they reach deep within the earth. Together they form one vast organism, one living thing, whose life is dependent upon the sum of its parts.

In this week’s portion Shoftim we read:
When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the axe against them. You may eat of them, but you must not cut them down. Are trees of the field human beings to withdraw before you into the besieged city? (Deuteronomy 20:19)

The great Spanish commentator Ibn Ezra read the last part of this verse not as a question, but as a statement. “The trees of the field are human beings.” And to destroy one human being is to destroy an entire world. These are the roots of our Jewish value to heal and protect the earth.

We are all one. We are all a part of one life and one living being. When we destroy any part of our world, we destroy ourselves.

Shof’tim Summary:
Laws regarding both sacred and secular legislation are addressed. The Israelites are told that in every dealing they should pursue justice in order to merit the land that God is giving them. (16:18–18:8)
The people are warned to avoid sorcery and witchcraft, the abhorrent practices of their idolatrous neighbors. (18:9–22)
God tells them that should an Israelite unintentionally kill another, he may take sanctuary in any of three designated cities of refuge. (19:1–13)
Laws to be followed during times of peace and times of war are set forth. (19:14–21:9)
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

R’eih (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

This Week’s Torah Portion: R’eih (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

For the poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, saying: “You shall surely open you hand unto your poor and needy kin, in your land.” (Deuteronomy 15:11)

There is a legend in the Talmud about Rabbi Akiva who was challenged by a Roman General who said:
“If your God loves poor people, why doesn’t your God provide for their needs.” Rabbi Akiva replies: “So that we might be saved from hell by caring for their needs ourselves.”
The Roman General responds: “On the contrary, this is what makes you deserving of hell.
Let me demonstrate in a parable. A king is angry at a servant, locks him up in prison, and commands that he shall be given no food or drink. If someone went and fed him a gave him drink, wouldn’t the King be mad?”
Rabbi Akiva answers: “Let me tell you a parable. A king is angry at his son and locks him up in a prison. He commands that he shall have no food or drink. If someone went and fed his son and gave him something to drink, when the king heard of this, wouldn’t he give that person a reward?”

And, are we not all the children of God?

R’eih Summary:
God places both blessing and curse before the Israelites. They are taught that blessing will come through the observance of God’s laws. (11:26–32)
Moses’ third discourse includes laws about worship in a central place (12:1–28); injunctions against idolatry (12:29–13:19) and self-mutilation (14:1–2); dietary rules (14:3–21); and laws about tithes (14:22–25), debt remission (15:1–11), the release and treatment of Hebrew slaves (15:12–18), and firstlings (15:19–23).
Moses reviews the correct sacrifices to be offered during the Pilgrim Festivals—Pesach, Sukkot, and Shavuot. (16:1-17)

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