“Parsha to the Point” – Shavuot 5778

Shavuot Rabbi David Stav   One of the enigmas with which our Sages struggled is the meaning behind where the Torah was given. A desert can provide an awe-inspiring backdrop, but it is usually far away from inhabited areas and the water so sorely needed by those who wander within it. Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to stage this unprecedented …

“Parsha to the Point” – Behukotai 5778

Parshat Behukotai 5778 (Leviticus 26:3-27:34) Rabbi David Stav This Shabbat, we will conclude the reading of the third book of the Torah – the Book of Leviticus (Vayikra) – and the process by which the commandments were given at Mount Sinai. One of the peak moments is the “chapter of rebuke”, in which God tells the people what will happen if …

“Parsha to the Point” – Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5778

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5778 (Leviticus 16:1-20:27) Rabbi David Stav This Shabbat, we will read the Torah portions Acharei Mot and Kedoshim. Though these two parashot ostensibly cover entirely different subjects, they share something profound in common, which is also tied to how they are structured. The first part of Acharei Mot deals with the service …

“Parsha to the Point” – Tazria-Metzora 5778

Tazria-Metzora 5778 (Leviticus 12:1-15:33)  Rabbi David Stav This Shabbat, we will read the double-parsha of Tazri’a–Metzora in our synagogues. Dozens of verses outline the symptoms of various skin diseases that appear on people’s heads, in their beards, in their clothes and in their homes. Suffice it to say that nowhere else in the Torah can …

“Parsha to the Point” – Shemini 5778

Shemini 5778 (Leviticus 9:1-11:47)  Rabbi David Stav Following Passover, we resume reading the regular series of Torah readings, which contain the inauguration of the mishkan, the Tabernacle. After months of fund-raising to acquire the funds needed to build the mishkan, and a complex construction process, Aaron and his sons remain sequestered in …

“Parsha to the Point” – Shevii shel Pesach 5778

Pesach 5778  Rabbi David Stav We recall that following the Jewish People’s departure from Egypt, they found themselves in a serious bind, entrapped by towering mountains to the side, their oncoming Egyptian captors to the rear, and the sea up ahead. God tells the people to enter the sea, which splits and becomes dry land as hundreds of thousands …

“Parsha to the Point” – Pesach 5778

Pesach 5778  Rabbi David Stav This year, the first day of Pesach falls on Shabbat, so we interrupt the regular sequence of Torah readings from the book of Vayikra (Leviticus), and read about the holiday of Pesach. The only indication in this reading that it occurs on Shabbat is the fact that seven people will be called up to bless the Torah, as in …

“Parsha to the Point” – Tzav 5778

Tzav 5778 (Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36) Rabbi David Stav This Shabbat, we will read Parashat Tzav. It is also the Shabbat the precedes the Passover holiday, and is widely known as “Shabbat Hagadol” – or the “Great Sabbath”. Some attribute this to the great miracle that occurred on that day, when the Jews tied sheep to their bed posts without …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayikra 5778

Vayikra 5778 (Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26) Rabbi David Stav This Shabbat, we begin reading Leviticus (Vayikra), the third of the Five Books of Moses. The first part of the parsha deals with sacrifices, prompting our rabbis to name the book “Torat Kohanim” – the Torah of the Priests. We generally do not identify with sacrifices, and the subject …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayak’hel / Pekudei 5778

Vayak’hel / Pekudei 5778 (Exodus 35:1 – 40:38) Rabbi David Stav In its description of the Israelites’ fundraising drive to supply the Tabernacle (Mishkan) with gold and silver for its vessels, the Torah specifies that Moses counted all of the contributions and calculated the sums so that no one would, God forbid, complain about a lack …