In a quote: "When things are steep, remember to be level-headed" - Horace This week we revisit the infamous story of Moses hitting the rock. Let us remind ourselves of the story: "and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “You and your brother Aaron take the rod and assemble the community, and before their very eyes order the rock to yield its water. Thus you shall produce water for them from the rock and provide drink for the congregation and their beasts.” Moses took the rod fro
In a quote: "I love being a part of something that is grassroots, and you can see the actual changes, the effect of what people do." - Anthony Edwards This week we are presented with one of the better known stories of Korach and the uprising which he led. Korach is dissatisfied with the status quo, the hierarchical nature of power within the Israelite camp and with Moses' leadership. His message is one that some people share and so he manages to create a small enclave of dis
In a quote: "You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” - Ken Kesey This week's parsha is action packed. It begins with the purification of the Leviim before they work in the mishkan and the laws surrounding their service. It then outlines the creation of two trumpets that would be used to signal, depending on the sound that was made, how and where Bnei Yisrael should travel. We then hear the story of ho
In a quote: "“We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” ― Gloria Steinem Last week we concluded the book of Vayikra, Leviticus, which contains many laws about purity, sacrificial processes and dedication to God. We now embark on the next book, the next journey - Bamidbar (lit. in the desert), Numbers. The story begins with a census of the people, a story which we already encountered earlier in the yea
In a quote: "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation" - Oscar Wilde This week's double parsha moves away from purity related laws to general laws and Israel's adherence to these laws. Let us examine two contrasting verses אִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֖י תֵּלֵ֑כוּ וְאֶת־מִצְוֺתַ֣י תִּשְׁמְר֔וּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָֽם׃ If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments..... וְאִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֣י תִּמְאָ֔סוּ
In last week's Dvar Torah, I suggested that impurities uniquely define us. We should embrace that which makes us impure. According to Parshat Emor, this is not the case: In reference to Kohanim: כִּ֥י כָל־אִ֛ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֥וֹ מ֖וּם לֹ֣א יִקְרָ֑ב אִ֤ישׁ עִוֵּר֙ א֣וֹ פִסֵּ֔חַ א֥וֹ חָרֻ֖ם א֥וֹ שָׂרֽוּעַ׃ א֣וֹ אִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶ֥ה ב֖וֹ שֶׁ֣בֶר רָ֑גֶל א֖וֹ שֶׁ֥בֶר יָֽד׃ אֽוֹ־גִבֵּ֣ן אוֹ־דַ֔ק א֖וֹ תְּבַלֻּ֣ל בְּעֵינ֑וֹ א֤וֹ גָרָב֙ א֣וֹ יַלֶּ֔פֶת א֖וֹ מְר֥וֹחַ אָֽשֶׁךְ׃ כָּל־אִ֞ישׁ
Salutations all! As we meander our way through the book of Vayikra (Leviticus in English) we encounter another double parsha. Like the portions which precede it these portions continue to explore ideas of purity and the ways in which the community of Israel should behave. Last week we grappled with the notion of impurity as a result of bodily functions. A particularly difficult area of Jewish law to reconcile (if one feels the need to do so) with the modern and progressive wo
This week's parsha is a double Parsha: Tazria and Metzorah. During a leap year, these portions would be split over two weeks. This year however, we will read both in one sitting.
The main topic of these portions is the idea of purity which is incredibly important to our narrative (there is no escaping this). Now this is evident in these portions in two categories: a. Spiritual b. Health (physical) The first category is dealt with in typical biblical style. An
Salutations! In this week's email, we will examine the way in which the Torah suggests that leaders should act in times of trouble.
Let's set the scene. Aharon and his sons have been anointed as priests and are being instructed in what to do in the Mishkan to ensure all of the processes are exact and precisely what God ordered. Upon being inducted into the service of God, two of Aharon's sons die in a freak korban accident. Nadav and Avihu, choked by the very essence they w
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach all!
We are in the midst of a very busy time. Not only do we have our annual ShnatSem and HadSem in Melbourne and Sydney respectively, but we also find ourselves in the middle of celebrating the process of the Exodus. The eight days of Pesach are the eight days of Exodus and escape from Egypt and so whilst we celebrate Seder on day one and two, in reality, the celebrations continue for a while longer.
This week's portion digresses from the