“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 …

“Parsha to the Point” – Sukkot 5778

Sukkot 5778 Rabbi David Stav  Sukkot is a particularly festive and beloved holiday, and indeed, the Torah specifically commands us to be joyful on these days [Deut. 16:14]. The uniquely celebratory nature of Sukkot is perhaps best demonstrated by the special water-drawing celebration in the Temple, Simchat Beit Hashoeva, which took place during the …

“Parsha to the Point” – Yom Kippur 5778

Yom Kippur 5778 Rabbi David Stav  If you were to peruse the streets of Israel on the evening of Yom Kippur, you couldn’t help but notice the unique atmosphere, as a blanket of majestic beauty settles on the physical world around you. As the services conclude in synagogues, thousands of people, many of them dressed or wrapped in white, walk to and …

“Parsha to the Point” – Haazinu 5778

Parshat Haazinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52) Rabbi David Stav  This coming Shabbat Shuva, we will read Parshat Haazinu – or, to be precise, Shirat Haazinu (Song of Haazinu). God tells Moshe that this song has a vital role in shaping Jewish consciousness – which all of Moshe’s previous admonitions of Israel had not managed to do – and that …

“Parsha to the Point” – Nitzavim-Vayelech 5777

Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech (Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30) Rabbi David Stav  There is something truly unique about the Torah’s description of the Jewish People assembling to experience the sealing of the covenant between the nation and its God, as the Book of Deuteronomy comes to a close. Our portion, Nitzavim-Vayelech, states: “You are all standing this …

“Parsha to the Point” – Ki Tavo 5777

Parshat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) Rabbi David Stav  We rarely have any hard and fast rules about which Torah portions must be read at what time, yet an age-old Rabbinic tradition maintains that we must be sure to read the parsha of Ki Tavo, containing the blessings and curses before Rosh Hashanah, so that we can merit to enjoy the blessings …

“Parsha to the Point” – Ki Tetze 5777

Parshat Ki Tetze (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) Rabbi David Stav  The Torah contains many events and mitzvot, and this week’s portion, Ki Teitze, is among the most “mitzvah-packed” in the entire Torah. It lists mitzvot of all kinds, both private and public; those concerned with the relationship between Man and God, as well as those addressing relationships …

“Parsha to the Point” – Shoftim 5777

Parshat Shoftim(Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) Rabbi David Stav  True to its name, our Torah portion, Shoftim, elaborates on the different court systems and government agencies the nation would need to establish once it enters the Land of Israel, as echoed in the verse: “You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities…” …

“Parsha to the Point” – Reeh 5777

Parshat Reeh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) Rabbi David Stav  Our Torah portion this week, Re’eh, is replete with religious and social mitzvot, of which one is to take place during the Sh’nat Sh’mitah, the Sabbatical Year: the principle of Sh’mitat K’safim – the absolution of debt. Simply put, all creditors must absolve their debtors from repaying …