Category: Torah

Ten Torah Resources You Should Know

Here are our top ten Torah resources you should know, including Conservative/Masorti organizations and resources for kids and families!
How Do We Continue the Work of Liberation Without Miracles?

How Do We Continue the Work of Liberation Without Miracles?

As we commemorate MLK Day, how can we support liberation in our communities? How do we continue the work of liberation without miracles?
Parashat Ki Tisa: On Relationships with God and Other Human Beings

On Relationships with God and Other Human Beings

Ilana Sandberg (JTS RS '24) explores parashat Ki Tisa and speaks on relationships with God and other human beings.
Parashat Mishpatim: The Torah of Disorienting Moments

The Torah of Disorienting Moments

Talia Kaplan (JTS RS '24) explores parashat Mishpatim and the Torah of disorienting moments, reflecting on her rabbinical school experience.
The Rabbis' Boogeyman: Learning About Forgiveness

The Rabbis’ Boogeyman: Learning About Forgiveness

What can we learn about forgiveness from the Rabbis' boogeyman? Esau is that boogeyman but we can learn from his relationship with Jacob.
Parashat Yitro: Binding Love and Loss

Binding Love and Loss

Amalya Volz (JTS RS '24) explores Parashat Yitro through the binding of love and loss and the people of Israel's relationship with God.
Charlton Heston Speaking

Charlton Heston Speaking

We can learn about leadership from Moses, as well as from Charlton Heston speaking, as he plays Moses in the Ten Commandments movie.
Shirat Hayam - They're playing our song!

Shirat Hayam: They’re playing our song!

Shirat Hayam connects us to a collective memory and is the proof-text that enlarges, extends, and authenticates the meaning of the prayer. 
Why I Change the Melodies: Exploring Keva and Kavanah

Why I Change the Melodies: Exploring Keva and Kavanah

By occasionally changing melodies, we draw from both Keva and Kavanah and invite ourselves into a deeper connection with our prayers.
How to Write a D’var Torah

How to Write a D’var Torah

There are many ways to write a d'var Torah. Read how this rabbi thinks about giving divrei Torah and what she thinks about while writing.
Jacob and Esav: The Original Yom Sport

Jacob and Esav: The Original Yom Sport

The story of Jacob and Esav's relationship is a paradigm of biblical “Color War” and what really winning actually means.
Dinah: An Unexpected Trans Story

Dinah: An Unexpected Trans Story

Based on rabbinic midrash from tractate Berakhot, Dinah can be read either as a trans woman or, as this piece argues, a closeted trans man.
Elevating the Matriarchs, and the Women, in Judaism

Elevating the Matriarchs, and the Women, in Judaism

Elevating the Matriarchs is important. Rabbi Goodman encourages this with a midrash on Parashat Shemini, urging that representation matters.
Finding Quiet Solace in a Stormy World

Finding Quiet Solace in a Stormy World

Caleb Brommer, RS '24, speaks on finding quiet solace in a stormy world, for his JTS senior sermon, on Parashat Vayishlach.

How do you Solve a Problem Like Esav?

Rabbi Mordechai Rackover teaches: Life is not a zero-sum and one of the keys is to recognize that people grow and change.
Jerusalem's Temple Mount - at sunset

The Right Time for Atheism

The story of Avraham is full of tragedy but also the great gift of speaking truth to power and knowing when not to believe.
In the Name of All of Israel

In the Name of All of Israel

Building on ideas of Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev and Maimonides - Avraham showed us a path to repair even in the darkest of times.
Psalms for this Time of Crisis in Israel

Psalms for this Time of Crisis in Israel

Seven psalms as a liturgical response to our individual and collective emotions, including grief, fear, rage, desperation, and others.

The Torah of the Summer Barbecue

Summer barbecues are great for relaxation and rejuvenation, and an opportunity to extend and receive hospitality like Abraham and Sarah.

Shlach Lecha: Learning Inclusion from the Scouts

As God commanded Moses to include Caleb and Joshua, we can imagine the same command applies to us. We can seek to include people.
Parashat V'zot Habrachah Haftarah: The Faceless Nemesis

The Faceless Nemesis

Having just experienced the most intimate time of the year, reflecting on our actions, we celebrate Sukkot and see a faceless nemesis.
Parashat V'zot Habrachah Study Guide: Who Is Writing Moses' Death?

Study Guide: Who Is Writing Moses’ Death?

In the study guide for V'zot Habracha, Vered Hollander-Goldfarb explores who is writing Moses' death and what we can learn.
Swaddled By God

Swaddled By God

On the festival of Sukkot, we are commanded to dwell in temporary huts so as to remember the Israelites swaddled by God.
Parashat Haazinu Haftarah: From Moses to David

From Moses to David

As we approach the end of the Torah cycle, we juxtapose two of our leading men—Moses from the Torah portion and King David from the ...
Parashat Haazinu Study Guide: The Pangs of Transition

Study Guide: The Pangs of Transition

As Moshe embarks on his final speech to the Israelites, the nation readies itself for the transition of leadership from Moshe to Joshua.
Bright Wings

Bright Wings

Parashat Haazinu is the poem that Moshe sings to the people of Israel before he delivers his deathbed blessing, discussing bright wings.
Parashat Vayelech Haftarah: Rebelling or Repenting

Rebelling or Repenting

The haftorah this week, the week of Shabbat Shuvah, is all about return and repentance, focusing on the rebelling or repenting of this time.
Parashat Vayelech Study Guide: Staying In Touch

Study Guide: Staying in Touch

The study guide for Parashat Vayelech explores the shemitah that comes every seven years, especially discussing the connection to Sukkot.
The Prairie and the Wilderness

The Prairie and the Wilderness

This week we read about Moshe writing down the Torah, comparing that to Little House on the Prairie—the prairie and the wilderness.
Parashat Nitzavim Haftarah: The Big Bad Wolf

The Big Bad Wolf

Our haftarah, is the final of the seven haftarot of consolation. Humans question God, just as Red Riding Hood questions the Big Bad Wolf.
Parashat Nitzavim Study Guide: Cutting A Covenant

Study Guide: Cutting A Covenant

The study guide for this week's parashah explores the physical acts of making a covenant, with commentary from Bechor Shor and Hizkuni.
Beyond the Sea

Beyond the Sea

Parashat Nitzavim, which we read just before Rosh Hashanah, speaks of the importance of repenting and returning to God after we have sinned.
Parashat Ki Tavo Haftarah: Got Milk?

Got Milk?

During the seven haftarot of consolation, we return to the idea of Jerusalem reuniting with her children, once again able to care for them.
Parashat Ki Tavo Study Guide: This Land Is Our Land?

Study Guide: This Land Is Our Land?

This week's parashah focuses on an excerpt of the text that discusses the ownership of the land of Israel before the Israelite's cross over.

Secret Sins

Moshe charges the people to renew the terms of their covenant with God before entering the land, necessary for sins committed in secret.
Parashat Ki Teitzei Haftarah: Broken Trust

Broken Trust

This week’s haftarah, the fifth of the seven readings of consolation between Tisha B’Av and Rosh HaShana, talks about broken trust.
Parashat Ki Teitzei Study Guide: Good Person, Beware of Yourself

Study Guide: Good Person, Beware of Yourself

This week's study guide looks at a passage from the parashah about what the Israelite camp should be like in the wilderness.
Parents on the Same Page

Parents on the Same Page

Family dynamics, and parents on the same page, are alluded to in the many commandments discussed in this week’s parashah.
Parashat Shoftim Haftarah: Like Grass

Like Grass

We define ourselves by our covenant, by the terms of our relationship with God. It goes in cycles like grass—growing, dying, growing again.
Parashat Shoftim Study Guide: Go Home!

Study Guide: Go Home!

This week's study guide looks at the preparations made before going to war and the considerations that must be taken into account.
No Going Back

No Going Back

This parashah deals with the administration of justice in the land of Israel and the connection between no going back to Egypt.
Parashat Re'eh Haftarah: Birth Before Labor

Birth Before Labor

In looking at this week's haftarah, explore the concept of birth before labor, as demonstrated by the concept of labor pains in our stories.
Parashat Re'eh Study Guide: To Lend or To Give?

Study Guide: To Lend or To Give?

The study guide for Parashat Re'eh looks at the relationship between the shmitah year, debts, loans, and tzedakah.
The Long and Short of It

The Long and Short of It

The Dvar Torah for Parashat Re'eh explores choosing between two paths, the long and the short of it, when the choices are presented.
Parashat Eikev Haftarah: Birthing Israel

Birthing Israel

This week's haftarah compares the birthing of Israel in the generations recorded in the Torah with similar experiences in the haftarah.
Parashat Eikev Study Guide: Food or Famine? Up to Us?

Study Guide: Food or Famine? Up to Us?

The study guide for parashat Eikev explores the Shema and the mitzvot mandated by the sacred prayer, such as mezuzot and tefillin.
A Conduit of Blessing

A Conduit of Blessing

In this parashah, Moshe prepares the people for their entry into Israel, extolling the conduit of blessing that they are about to conquer.
Parashat Va'etchanan Haftarah: Alone or Lonely?

Alone or Lonely?

This Shabbat is Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of Comforting, so we explore if what it means to be alone or lonely.
Parashat Va'etchanan Study Guide: Danger of Complacency

Study Guide: Danger of Complacency

This week's study guide explores the danger of complacency in relation to our parashah, using commentary by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch.
Moshe the Mother

Moshe the Mother

In this week’s parashah, we see a depiction of Moshe the Mother as he pleas with God to enter the land of Israel with the ...
Parashat Devarim Haftarah: On Dialogue

On Dialogue

This week’s haftarah is the final haftarah of the Three Weeks before Tisha b’Av and presents a parallel on dialogue between Isaiah and Eicha.

Study Guide: Ejection Born from Rejection

The study guide for parashat Devarim looks at the story of the twelve spies, in the books of Devarim and Numbers, and connects a midrash.
Moshe's Memoir

Moshe’s Memoir

Deuteronomy presents an interesting paradox to the literary reader of the Bible in the form of Moshe's memoir.
Parashat Matot-Masei Haftarah: The Boiling Point

The Boiling Point

In these weeks leading up to Tisha B’av, we read a passage of Jeremiah, overflowing with water imagery and see the boiling point.
Parashat Matot-Masei Study Guide: All Over Again?!

Study Guide: All Over Again?!

This week's study guide continues an ongoing conversation about how to divide the land of Israel for the tribes of the Israelites.
A Lyric of Love

A Lyric of Love

Parashat Masei opens with a long list of all the encampments of the Israelites in the wilderness and discusses a lyric of love.
Marriage (and) Vows

Marriage (and) Vows

Our parashah begins with the laws governing oaths and vows. Then the Torah discusses the various types of vows and how they are used.
Parashat Pinchas Haftarah: Building Walls

Building Walls

This week's haftarah marks the three weeks leading up to Tisha B'av and uses Jeremiah's words to do so, when Israelites are building walls.
Parashat Pinchas Study Guide: The Land Should Be Divided

Study Guide: The Land Should Be Divided

The study guide for Parashat Pinchas investigates the division of the land of Israel among the twelve tribes of the nation.
Moshe's Forced Retirement

Moshe’s Forced Retirement

At the end of the Israelites’ journey in the wilderness, Moshe’s job is terminated prematurely. This explores Moshe's forced retirement.
Parashat Balak Haftarah: What is Good?

What is Good?

There is something disturbing in hearing basic tenants of human decency presented as revelatory. Our haftarah explores what is good.
Parashat Balak Study Guide: My Land or My Resources?

Study Guide: My Land or My Resources?

The study guide for Parashat Balak continues the discussion of a concept in the study guide for Parashat Chukat, about passing through land.
The Unwanted Gaze

The Unwanted Gaze

In Parashat Balak, the Moabite king Balak hires Bilaam to curse his Israelite neighbors. Bilaam notices the prevention of the unwanted gaze.
Parashat Chukat Haftarah: Powerful Vows

Powerful Vows

Our haftarah this week tells the brutal story of powerful vows and human sacrifices and all of the complications that go with it.
Parashat Chukat Studay Guide: Passing Through the Land

Study Guide: Passing Through the Land

The study guide for Parashat Chukat focuses on the Israelites passing through the land and their relationship with other regions.
Spare the Rod

Spare the Rod

This week's parashah, Chukat, focuses on the story of Moshe hitting the rock, choosing not to spare the rod, to get water.
Parashat Korach Haftarah: Saul and Eve

Saul and Eve

This week's haftarah discusses Saul's assumption of power as the first king of Israel. Bex Stern Rosenblatt compares Saul with Eve.
Parashat Korach Study Guide Do As I Mean, Not As I Say

Study Guide: Do As I Mean, Not As I Say

Korach led a rebellion against Moshe (and Aaron). Ahead of the incense trial, Korach gathers the congregation against Moshe and Aaron.
Disputations Without Denigrations

Disputation Without Denigration

Korach and his followers, a rebellion undermining the leadership of Moshe and Aaron, teach about disputation without denigration.
Parashat Shlach Haftarah: Whores and Heroes

Whores and Heroes

This week’s parasha starts out gloriously—we scout out the land in order to enter it. Then we investigate the concept of whores and heroes.
Parashat Shlach Study Guide: Stronger Than Whom?

Stronger Than Whom?

The study guide for Shlach focuses on the phrase used by spies, that the people of the land of Israel were too strong for the ...
Spies and Tzitzit: Camela and Death

Spies and Tzitzit: Camels and Death

Our parashah is bookended by the story of the spies and tzitzit. This leads to a discussion on the obligation of mitzvot.
Parashat Behaalotcha Haftarah: On Regifting

On Regifting

We look at Leah's children's names and how its haftarah connection. Through this, we work on regifting God's gift to the rest of the world. ...
Parashat Behaalotcha Study Guide: Blisters On Feet or The Soul?

Study Guide: Blisters On Feet or The Soul?

This week's study guide looks at the complaints of Bnei Yisrael, as they are wandering through the desert, and what is behind this.
Lamps Give Light

Lamps Give Lights

Behaalotcha describes the appointment of seventy elders to help judge the people and leadership in terms of the phrase "lamps give light."
Parashat Naso Haftarah: Names and Blessings

Names and Blessings

Names are important—they tell the world who we are and help us understand ourselves. This Haftarah discusses names and blessings.
Parashat Naso Study Guide: One Day of Glory

Study Guide: One Day of Glory

The study guide for Parashat Naso presents commentaries from Rashi and Hizkuni to explore the building of the Mishkan.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Our parashah describes the laws of the Nazir, one who elects to take a vow of consecration to God for a certain period of time. ...
Parashat Bamidbar Haftarah: Missing Mothers

Missing Mothers

The haftarah for Parashat Bamidbar is taken from the Book of Hosea and explores the concept of missing mothers.
Parashat Bamidbar Study Guide: How You Say What You Say

Study Guide: How You Say What You Say

This week's study guide focuses on Ruth, in preparation for Shavuot. Specifically, "How You Say What You Say" explores Ruth and Boaz.
Flags at the Shabbat Table

Flags at the Shabbat Table

In this week’s parashah we learn that the Israelites traveled through the wilderness like a troop of soldiers or a marching band.
Parashat Bechukotai Haftarah: Humanity: The Incurable Illness

Humanity: The Incurable Illness

The haftarah for Bechukotai is from the book of Jeremiah and discusses two words, Eikev and Enosh, and what these words mean.
Parashat Bechukotai Study Guide The Vessel of Blessings

Study Guide: The Vessel of Blessings

The study guide for Bechukotai explores how "peace" is used in this week's parashah, as well as the commentary surrounding this.
Showered in Blessing

Showered in Blessing

Parashat Bechukotai consists of a litany of blessings and curses that will befall the Jewish people depending on whether or not we obey God.
Parashat Behar Haftarah: Words Don't Reach

Words Don’t Reach

Jeremiah tends to find himself left speechless as he is our prophet through the destruction of Judah, Jerusalem, and the First Temple.
Parashat Behar Study Guide: For the Land is Mine

Study Guide: For the Land is Mine

The study guide for Behar focuses on the concept of Shmitah, the rest year, and the language used to refer to it.
Given Over to the Heart

Given Over to the Heart

While this week's parashah mainly focuses on shmitah, this Dvar Torah explores a line in the parashah, focusing on how to treat others.
Parashat Emor Haftarah: Working Behind the Scene

Working Behind the Scene

Our haftarah expands on the parasha, limiting priestly work in the mikdash to only the descendants of Zadok.
Parashat Emor Study Guide: Sticks and Stones?

Study Guide: Sticks and Stones?

This week's study guide focuses on the curse of a person accused of violence. Discuss blasphemy versus blessing in this context.
Among the Bearded Barley

Among the Bearded Barley

Parshat Emor describes the Omer offering must be brought on the “day after the Sabbath," the second day of the Passover holiday.
Parashat Kedoshim Haftarah: Perspective

Perspective

Our haftarah starts bold and bloody, and connects the destruction in Amos to the destruction in the story of Noah and the flood.
Parashat Kedoshim Study Guide: Plugging of the Loophole

Study Guide: Plugging of the Loophole

The study guide for Kedoshim synthesizes Rashi, Rashbam, and Ramban to discuss a text from Vayikra about holiness.
How Old is Old?

How Old Is Old?

Public buses in Israel feature a sign that quotes from a verse in this week’s parashah: “You shall rise before the aged'' (Leviticus 19:32).
I Need Your Sacrifices After All

I Need Your Sacrifices After All

This week’s parashah contains God’s instructions to Moshe concerning Aaron’s entrance into the Holy of Holies to achieve atonement.
Parashat Acharei Mot Study Guide: Biblical Sartyrs

Study Guide: Biblical Satyrs

This study guide follows the word "se'irim," meaning sartyrs, through multiple biblical texts, tying this in with Ibn Ezra's commentary.
Parshat Acharei Mot Haftarah: Fathers

Fathers

This week, we read 1 Samuel 20, the story of Jonathan helping David escape from King Saul, in conjunction with Parashat Achrei Mot.
Parashat Metzora Hafatarh: Zealous Duo

Zealous Duo

This final Shabbat before Pesach, Shabbat HaGadol, our haftarah positions us, juxtaposing Moses with the future coming of Elijah.
Parashat Metzora Study Guide: When Walls Speak

Study Guide: When Walls Speak

The study guide for this week's parashah, Meztora, discusses the impact that tzaraat has on the physical objects it touches.
One Mouth Per Person

One Mouth Per Person

The dangers of inappropriate speech are connected to the parashah, Metzora, the person stricken with leprosy.
Parashat Tazria Haftarah: Finding a Prince Charming

Finding a Prince Charming

This week's haftarah, from the book of Ezekiel, discusses the changing power structures and leadership in the changing times of Israel.