“Parsha to the Point” – Matot 5776

Parshat Matot (Numbers 30:2 – 32:42)  Rabbi David Stav  One of the most compelling stories in this week’s portion involves the first “yordim” – Israelites who wanted to disassociate from their brethren and make their homes elsewhere. Sometimes, we might assume that Jewish communities exist outside of the Land of Israel – the Jewish epicenter …

“Parsha to the Point” – Pinchas 5776

Parshat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10 – 30:1)  Rabbi David Stav  Who was Pinchas, and how did he merit to have this portion named after him? At the end of the previous portion, the Torah tells us that the People of Israel had illicit relations with Midianite and Moabite women. God punished the nation with a terrible epidemic, which claimed the lives …

“Parsha to the Point” – Balak 5776

Parshat Balak (Numbers 22:2 – 25:9)  Rabbi David Stav  The People of Israel were supposed to have crossed through the country of Moav, ruled by Balak the king, on the way to the Holy Land. But Balak feels uneasy with the idea that the Jews would go through his territory, and perhaps even wreak havoc on the way, so he decides to prevent them from …

“Parsha to the Point” – Chukat 5776

Parshat Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)  Rabbi David Stav  Parshat Chukat begins with the laws of the parah adumah – the red heifer – including the process required for preparing the purifying waters and the purification ritual itself. The Torah introduces the topic thusly: This is the law of the Torah. (Bamidbar / Numbers 19:2) These words evoke …

“Parsha to the Point” – Korach 5776

Parshat Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32)  Rabbi David Stav  In some ways, Parshat Korach presents a snapshot of Jewish history over the generations: arguments and altercations, zesty politics and all the elements you would ever need for an irresistible plot. The main theme revolves around a group of people who attempt to undermine Moshe and Aharon’s …

“Parsha to the Point” – Shelach 5776

Parshat Shelach (Numbers 13:1 – 15:41)  Rabbi David Stav  Parshat Shelach centers on the story of the spies that Moshe sent to survey the Land of Israel, to assess the quality of its fruits, and to “size up” its inhabitants. The Torah relates how the spies return from the Promised Land with its wonderful, oversized fruit, which convey a very …

“Parsha to the Point” – Behaalotcha 5776

Parshat Behaalotcha (Numbers 8:1-12:16)  Rabbi David Stav  After a number of verses relating how the Israelite camp will travel throughout its desert journey, the big day finally arrives when the People of Israel sets out for the Land of Israel. This historic date was the 20th of Iyyar, in the second year after the nation left Egypt, a journey …

“Parsha to the Point” – Naso 5776

Parshat Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89)  Rabbi David Stav  With one hundred seventy-six verses, Parshat Naso is the longest single portion in the Torah. While many diverse subjects are addressed, the case of the Sotah, the suspected adulteress, is unique. The Torah describes a situation in which a man is jealous of his wife, suspecting that, despite her …

“Parsha to the Point” – Bamidbar 5776

Parshat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20)  Rabbi David Stav  Parshat Bamidbar lends its name to the entire book of Bamidbar (Numbers). This name was not chosen merely because the word “Bamidbar” appears in the first pasuk (verse) of the book, but rather because the content focuses on the sojourns of the People of Israel in the desert as they wandered …

“Parsha to the Point” – Bechukotai 5776

Parshat Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34)  Rabbi David Stav  Parshat Bechukotai, the final portion of the book of Vayikra (Leviticus), centers on a section called the “Tochecha”, a term that describes an agreement between a people and its God. This agreement states that if the nation follows the path and adheres to the values set out in the …