“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… …

“Parsha to the Point” – Tetzaveh 5777

Parshat Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20 – 30:10) Rabbi David Stav  One of the priest’s special garments is the Urim Ve-tumim, the grid of precious stones covering the breastplate. The Torah says the following: “You shall place the Urim Ve-tumim into the Choshen of judgment so that they will be over Aaron’s heart…” [Ex. 28:30] Twelve special …

“Parsha to the Point” – Terumah 5777

Parshat Terumah (Exodus 25:1 – 27:19) Rabbi David Stav  Last week, we delved deeply into the ethical precepts that were given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, which would form the basis for a practical judicial framework that would guarantee the existence of a moral and just civil society. In this week’s Torah portion, Terumah, we abruptly …

“Parsha to the Point” – Mishpatim 5777

Parshat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1 – 24:18) Rabbi David Stav  After being exposed to the ideals embodied by the Ten Commandments, which would later serve as the fundamental values shared by people around the world, the Torah takes us back down to reality in our portion, Mishpatim, and begins to list the ways we can apply those values in our daily …

“Parsha to the Point” – Yitro 5777

Parshat Yitro (Exodus 18:1 – 20:23) Rabbi David Stav  The “Ten Commandments” is the “piece de resistance” of the Torah, where we read of the connection between Hashem and man, and where man receives direct instructions from Hashem on what he must do, and that from which he must abstain. The first time we came across anything like this is …