“Parsha to the Point” – Bamidbar 5777

Parshat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1 – 4:20) Rabbi David Stav  This Shabbat, we’ll read the opening Torah portion of the fourth of the five Books of Moses ­– the Book of Bamidbar. Then, later in the week, we will celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, which our rabbis termed “the time of the giving of the Torah” (no explicit connection is made in …

“Parsha to the Point” – Behar-Bechukotai 5777

Parshat Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34) Rabbi David Stav  This Shabbat, we’ll read Parshat Behar-Behukotai in our synagogues. Most of the social and economic issues in Biblical discourse and the Jewish world are addressed in this reading. The first part of the Torah portion discusses the laws of the Shmitta (Sabbatical) year, which recurs …

“Parsha to the Point” – Emor 5777

Parshat Emor (Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23) Rabbi David Stav  This week’s Torah portion, Emor, while covering a wide range of topics, relates to the prohibition of sacrificing blemished animals: “And if a man offers up a peace offering to the Lord…it shall be unblemished; it shall not have any defect in it” [Lev. 22:21]. Later on, the Torah …

“Parsha to the Point” – Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5777

Parshat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-20:27) Rabbi David Stav  The title of this week’s Torah portion, Acharei Mot – Kedoshim (“after the death” and “martyrs”, respectively) – combined with the recent memories of Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron in mind – beckon us to contemplate the meaning of our lives. As we review …

“Parsha to the Point” – Tazria-Metzora 5777

Parshat Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33) Rabbi David Stav  The central theme of Parshat Tazria-Metzora is the unique case of tzara’at (usually translated as leprosy) in its various manifestations. Some tzara’at appears in human flesh. Some affects a person’s hair or facial hair, and other types can appear in other parts of the body. Tzara’at …

“Parsha to the Point” – Shemini 5777

Parshat Shemini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47) Rabbi David Stav  Why do we keep kosher? This week’s portion, Shemini, in discussing the kosher dietary laws, devotes no less than an entire chapter to delineating prohibited foods, such as insects and creeping animals, pigs, rabbits, and so on. We will seek here to identify the Torah’s main reason for prohibiting …

“Parsha to the Point” – Tzav 5777

Parshat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36) Rabbi David Stav  This Shabbat is called “Shabbat Hagadol” – the “Great Sabbath”. Many have tried to infuse meaning into this special name. Some associated the name with the great event that occurred as the Jewish people prepared to leave the Land of Egypt. They mustered up the courage to tie sacrificial …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayikra 5777

Parshat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26) Rabbi David Stav  Parashat Vayikra is completely devoted to the various types of offerings any individual may bring to the Temple. They may either be voluntary or a fulfillment of a commandment from the Torah, with the aim of atoning for some type of sin. When people in the modern age encounter the world of …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayakhel-Pekudei 5777

Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei (Exodus 35:1 – 40:38) Rabbi David Stav  Vayakhel and Pekudei, this week’s double Torah portion, contain an elaborate depiction of the Mishkan [Sanctuary] and its vessels, instructions for how we are to obtain the funds needed for building the structure, the production blueprints, and a detailed description of the service …

“Parsha to the Point” – Ki Tisa 5777

Parshat Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11 – 34:35) Rabbi David Stav  After a lengthy description of the materials that needed to be prepared for the construction of the Mishkan [Tabernacle] and for the performing of the ritual worship, Hashem orders Moshe: “Take for yourself aromatics, [namely] balsam sap, onycha and galbanum, aromatics and pure frankincense… …