“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 …

“Parsha to the Point” – Toldot 5778

Parshat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9) Rabbi David Stav  “It came to pass when Isaac was old, and his eyes were too dim to see…” [Gen. 27:1]. Why did Isaac go blind? Was this an ailment of old age? Or perhaps was it an accident that led to this condition? The Torah does not provide an explicit answer, but does imply that his blindness may be related …

“Parsha to the Point” – Chayei Sarah 5778

Parshat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18) Rabbi David Stav  Parshat Chayyei Sarah begins with the death and burial of our matriarch, Sarah, who passed away at the age of 127. Abraham, wishing to bury her, needed a burial site. Since he was a newcomer to Canaan and people tended to bury their deceased relatives in family plots, Abraham was going to …

“Parsha to the Point” – Vayera 5778

Parshat Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24) Rabbi David Stav  Our Torah reading, Vayera, begins with three angels paying a visit to Abraham as the patriarch was recovering from his circumcision, during which time one of the angels reports that God is about to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Curiously, the Torah stresses that God feels a need to …

“Parsha to the Point” – Lech Lecha 5778

Parshat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) Rabbi David Stav  In last week’s Torah reading, we were engrossed in the history of humanity as a whole, and in how it was nearly entirely destroyed in The Flood as a punishment for deeply-ingrained moral corruption. In contrast, this week’s reading, Parshat Lech Lecha, focuses on the roots of a specific …

“Parsha to the Point” – Noach 5778

Parshat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32) Rabbi David Stav  Barely a single portion of the Torah has been concluded, and already God has decided to destroy the entire universe. The optimistic mood echoed in the verse, “And God saw all He had done and behold, it was very good” [Gen 1:31] has given way to a more foreboding atmosphere, heralded by the verse, …

“Parsha to the Point” – Simchat Torah 5778

Simchat Torah 5778 Rabbi David Stav  Perhaps one of the Jewish people’s most unique – and bizarre – holidays is Simchat Torah. I often ask myself what possesses both young and old to encircle the bima at the synagogue in a never-ending frenzied dance, sweat pouring off their faces. What gets them going? Why are they dancing at all? What …