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Adat Yeshua Torah commentaries

Parashat Nitzavim-Vayeilech

Psalm 19:7-11 tells us that the Torah of God is without defect, restoring the soul. Torah itself lays the answer to all our deepest needs and spiritual hunger and to all our ‘life’ questions. Torah points the way forward to solutions; as we approach the autumn High Holy Days with the Days of Awe and the deep introspection demanded of us, it is good to remind ourselves where to look…

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Parashat Matot-Masei

The ‘Real’ Promise Keepers Most of this portion is given over to the narration of the Israelites in the process of the last stages of wilderness living; the Land is in sight and plans are being laid to take it. The time for maturity was now upon us, a time to consider what we’d learnt and how to apply it as we entered a new stage of our national development….

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Parashat Behar-Bechukotai

Matters of the heart Our portion opens with the teachings surrounding the Yovel year and Shmittah: how the Land ‎needs to rest from our labours and we learn that man does not live by bread alone, but by every ‎word spoken by God. It is trust and faith that bring life; the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness ‎thereof.‎ In the Haftarah, this message continues: Israel was about to…

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Parashat Chukat-Balak

Are we nearly there yet?‎ How many parents get tired of hearing that one?! The 40 years ‎of wandering are soon to be over, the camp of Israel is close to ‎the borders of the Promised Land, they are almost there and so ‎what happens? Throw a party to celebrate this achievement? ‎No,they grumble and complain, murmur against G-d and attack ‎Moshe and Aharon! ‎ In Numbers (B’midbar) 20:4-5 we…

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Parashat Achrei Mot-Kedoshim

Reactive Land This double portion focuses completely on redressing the balance after the death of Nadav and Avihu and their sin of presumption, a presumption that God would accept anything they did and the inherent dangers of the people being taught the wrong thing due to their actions if not words. The long section on holiness naturally flows from this event, a corrective reminder of the path of righteousness, a…

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Parashat Tazria-Metzora

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Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei

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Parashat Vayikra

Who are you listening to? Have you noticed that it is almost impossible to go somewhere and experience complete quiet? As technology has increased and the ability to communicate expanded, we are bombarded by voices and messages from all angles. And in this post-modern age one voice seems to be equal to any other. And in all this, wisdom and knowledge has not abounded, but confusion has. So who are…

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Parashat Devarim

Tisha B’Av We’re starting to read from the final book of the Chumash: Devarim. The words of God are repeated for us again, summarised and the eternal truths spelled out in a fashion that we’re meant to learn from. This is Torah stripped down to the essentials, what we’re meant to know and do: the core of our faith. Moshe stands up to start speaking; according to tradition, he speaks…

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Parashat Vaetchanan

Seeking and finding? HEAR O Israel, listen to who your God is! Listen to what He teaches you, and then do it! We are the people who hear God and obey (or at least should do) and it is this idea of obedience, doing what God says and wants and the consequences if we don’t, that frames this weeks’ portion. However, the depth of God’s love shines through in Deut…

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Parashat Eikev

Testing…Testing This portion is called ekev after the first few words in it, meaning ‘because of’ or consequently or as a consequence of. In its entirety, it deals with the themes of what will happen if Israel chooses to obey and of course in parallel, what will happen if not. But above all, this passage deals with the consequences of blessing! What really stopped me in my tracks were the…

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Parashat Re’eh

Mountains of Blessing This portion begins with ‘Behold’, or possibly, ‘See this, look at this’. G-d had put before the Israelites the blessings and the curses, a choice, decisions to be made. In Hebrew the concept of ‘seeing’ is tied to understanding, as it is in English too, I see it (understand it). What was the concept the people were to see or understand? Quite a simple one really, if…

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Parashat Shoftim

Living in the Kingdom This portion is all about the principles of government in Israel, ‎how to rule yourselves. In Devarim 16 we are told to appoint ‎judges and officers in our gates/towns. The portion also includes ‎the crucial section on ‘a better prophet’ and how/when/if a king is ‎to be appointed. It teaches us about justice and righteousness, ‎the need for witnesses who are unbiased and truly neutral, how…

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Parashat Ki Teitzei

Living in the Kingdom This portion is all about the principles of government in Israel, how to rule ‎yourselves. In Devarim 16 we are told to appoint judges and officers in our ‎gates/towns. The portion also includes the crucial section on ‘a better ‎prophet’ and how/when/if a king is to be appointed. It teaches us about ‎justice and righteousness, the need for witnesses who are unbiased and ‎truly neutral, how…

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Parashat Ki Tavo

Today Who wants to prosper? I could guarantee that if that question ‎was asked of anyone they would put their hands up. Who ‎doesn’t want to prosper? You’d be mad not to. It seems so ‎simple doesn’t it? G-d will bless you if you walk in obedience to ‎Him, in the Torah He has given. We know of course that we ‎have to know what the commands mean and how…

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Parashat Tzav

Great at being ungrateful The Temple was not a ‘nice’ place to be. It was a bloody and ‎smelly place, not the place for the squeamish, blood was ‎everywhere. There were burning corpses of animals already ‎lifted up and offered as sacrifices to G-d, their blood draining ‎away into the gullies and drains around the altar. Blood, and the ‎sacrifices generally, were core to the daily work in the Mishkan…

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Parashat Nitzavim

Behind the veil Psalm 19:7-11 tells us that the Torah of God is without defect, restoring the soul. Torah itself lays the answer to all our deepest needs and spiritual hunger and to all our ‘life’ questions.  Torah points the way forward to solutions; as we approach the autumn High Holy Days with the Days of Awe and the deep introspection demanded of us, it is good to remind ourselves…

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Parashat Vayeilech

Be Strong Moshe’s whole life’s work and calling was about to conclude. His concern to the bitter end was for the future of his people and God’s faithfulness to them and to us. Both he and Joshua are called to go before the Lord in Deuteronomy 31, where they hear some unpleasant things: V.16: “go astray or play the harlot”. The Hebrew is strong here and refers to sexual immorality…

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Parashat Shmini

Righteous Fire Let me ask you a searching question. Apart from the Lord, what is the defining feature you automatically think of when you think of Judaism? Is Torah the most important thing, theme and concept we are meant to hold and cherish? I think actually if we consider the space devoted to the Mishkan and the constant and ongoing offerings there, the structure and numbers of priests and their…

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Parashat Tazria

Leprosy, a bit of a sore issue? This whole section seems so yucky and earthy to our modern ‎sensitivities that we almost think it has to be consigned to the ‎‎‘olden days’. How do we even begin to connect with a section ‎which talks about discharges and emissions, how these make ‎you unclean? What about the uncleanness itself as a concept? ‎Is this merely ritual, sin orientated or spiritual too?…

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