“Parsha to the Point” – Tetzaveh 5778

Parshat Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)  Rabbi David Stav  This Shabbat, we will read Parshat Tetzaveh in our synagogues, and also remove another Torah scroll from the ark, from which we will read an excerpt containing the verses, “Zachor (remember) what Amalek did to you…you shall not forget!” [Deut. 25:17-19]. This is why this Shabbat is …

“Parsha to the Point” – Terumah 5778

Parshat Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)  Rabbi David Stav  This week’s Torah portion, Terumah, takes us to the world of the Mishkan and its various items, as we study verses focusing on the ceremonies performed in the context of man’s relationship with God. Something about the way the Torah presents the story of the Mishkan strikes us as rather curious. …

“Parsha to the Point” – Mishpatim 5778

Parshat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)  Rabbi David Stav  It is curious that our weekly Torah portion, Parshat Mishpatim, which provides the basic tenets of our judicial system – laws concerning servants; murderers and other criminals; specific penalties assigned to every kind of criminal act; properly applied rules of evidence, reaching verdicts …

“Parsha to the Point” – Yitro 5778

Parshat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)  Rabbi David Stav  As we read Parshat Yitro this Shabbat, we find the central theme of the entire Torah: the connection between God and mankind, through which the Almighty guides us, telling us which behaviors are appropriate, and which ones we should avoid. This is not something we should take for granted. The first …

“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 …