Registered Charity Number: 1116976

Deuteronomy

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Parashat Ha’Azinu

Our Father This parashah focuses on Moshe’s song of deliverance (in song format to be learned and sung to each generation) – a wonderful song of redemption amidst rebellion, a song of hope and prophecy, of gloom and ultimate hope of salvation. A song of possibilities, riven with the anguish of a prophet who loved God and His people, yet knowing the end from the beginning. It is also the…

Read More

Parashat Vezot Haberakhah

Hot on the heels of Sukkot comes the final portion of the Torah scroll, before its reprise again at Shemeni Atzeret next week. The name of the portion ‘V’zot HaBrachah’ (and this is the blessing) is taken from the first words of the portion and sets the content for the closing chapters of the book of Deuteronomy. Moshe is about to die and bequeaths his last words. It is is…

Read More