“Parsha to the Point” – Beshalach 5778

Parshat Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16)  Rabbi David Stav  Many refer to this Shabbat as Shabbat Shira – the Sabbath of Song ­– on account of Shirat Hayam ­– the song of exhilaration sung by the Israelites at the Reed Sea, which appears in this week’s Torah portion, Beshalach. The time for celebration and joy has arrived, and the people …

“Parsha to the Point” – Bo 5778

Parshat Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)  Rabbi David Stav  The saga of the exodus from Egypt reaches a climax in this week’s portion, Bo. After Egypt endures nine plagues in the course of one year, the Egyptians now face the final and most agonizing of them, the Plague of the Firstborn. The Torah provides a concise, piercing and decisive description of …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vaera 5778

Parshat Vaera (Exodus 6:2-9:35)  Rabbi David Stav  Last week, as we began the Book of Exodus, we read anew about how the People of Israel became enslaved by Pharaoh. Their conditions worsened with time, but Moshe, chosen by God to speak to the king’s heart, hoped that the despotic ruler would allow the Israelites to leave his land, even if for …

“Parsha to the Point” – Shemot 5778

Parshat Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)  Rabbi David Stav  Out of terrible human tragedies can come the most remarkable universal examples of heroism and humanity. Such is the case in Parshat Shemot. Curiously, although the Torah condenses hundreds of years of slavery and suffering at the hands of the Egyptians into a mere ten verses, it dedicates many dozens …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayechi 5778

Parshat Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)  Rabbi David Stav  Ironically, the only two Torah portions whose names contain the word “chayyim” – life – center on death. The first is Parshat Chayei Sarah, which details the burial of our matriarch, Sarah. The second is this week’s reading, Parshat Vayechi, which is largely about Jacob’s passing. …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayigash 5778

Parshat Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27) Rabbi David Stav  Parshat Vayigash features a description of the difficult encounter between Joseph and his brothers, after a 22-year period of estrangement and physical separation. As the second most powerful leader in Egypt, Joseph accuses his brothers of espionage, and forces them to return with their little …

“Parsha to the Point” – Miketz 5778

Parshat Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17) Rabbi David Stav  This week’s reading, Parshat Miketz, opens with Pharaoh’s dream, which features skinny cows devouring fat cows, and thin, withered sheaves of wheat devouring sheaves that were full and beautiful. Pharaoh is troubled by his dreams, when the cupbearer remembers Joseph, who had correctly interpreted …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayeshev 5778

Parshat Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1-40:23) Rabbi David Stav  Parshat Vayeshev centers on the sale of Joseph by his brothers, an event that led to the entire family going down to Egypt and the slavery that ensued there. Over the generations, commentators have toiled in an effort to get to the bottom of the contempt between the brothers, without which such …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayishlach 5778

Parshat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43) Rabbi David Stav  After spending nearly twenty years away from home, Jacob returns to the Land of Israel. But his return is marred by a glaring absence at home. We recall that his mother Rebecca was the one who masterminded Jacob’s flight to Haran. After overhearing that Esau was planning to murder Jacob because …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayetze 5778

Parshat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3) Rabbi David Stav  As Jacob escapes from the Land of Israel from his murderous brother and heads for Haran, God shows him a vision of a ladder rooted in the ground whose top reaches the heavens, and blesses him. “And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall break out: westward and eastward and …