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Exodus

Parashat Shemot

Life and Death in Egypt ‘And these are the names…’, thus begins this new book in the scroll, the same phrase used at the end of Bereshit to detail the people leaving their homeland to sojourn in Egypt. The parallels are meant to be stark, then we were small, now we are large in number, then we were free, now we are enslaved. Much had happened in the ensuing 400…

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Parashat Va’era

The Purpose of Egypt Acts 7:1-8: Stephan is standing in the council chamber giving a defence of his faith in Mashiach against trumped up charges brought against him. He begins his awesome speech with a recap of the amazing history of Israel. In just a few verses he covers the 400 years of our sojourning in Egypt, exactly what was promised and foreseen. What G-d has promised, He will do…

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Parashat Bo

We’re free! It is often said that the darkest hour of the night is the one before dawn. I’m not sure that’s true, but if it is then one of those lowest points and subsequent dawns took place some 2500 years ago as we returned from exile to Israel again and began to rebuild the Temple under Ezra and Nehemiah. The first returnees were dismayed at what they found and…

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Parashat Beshalach

Healing of the nations Today is Tu b’shevat, the 15th of Shevat a day designated as the New Year for trees. Our Land has always been a fruitful and blessed, fertile Land, while at the same time having the potential to be incredibly dry and arid, a living picture to the narrow balance we have in Israel between being blessed of the Lord, relying on His faithfulness to provide (as…

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Parashat Yitro

The Commanded Life We’re back to Yitro again; this is the portion I love each year, a chance to talk about Torah itself rather than the content. This is one of the most important if not the most important portions of the Torah. The impact of this portion in particular has gone far beyond the borders of Israel. God reveals His teachings to Israel, His people, and we in turn…

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Parashat Mishpatim

Commanded Holiness Last week Moshe stood on the mountain of the Lord receiving the Torah; the fire, the smoke, the physical manifestations of the Lord’s presence! This week we’ve moved from that awesome encounter with God where He gave us the first of His commandments, to the total apparent mundane instructions of how to live and behave in certain situations! Just as we were feeling so close to God, we…

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Parashat Terumah

G-d’s Blueprint Nothing in the universe is left up to chance. We do not live in an ‎unpredictable, unplanned cosmos wrought by the hidden ‎uncontrolled hand of statistical randomness. The universe, all ‎creation, runs according to the rules set down by the only G-d, of ‎Avraham Yitzchak and Ya’akov. It is not a cold unfathomable ‎place, hostile to humanity, far from it. It is a warm and above all ‎righteous…

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Parashat Tetzaveh

His Design Alone There are a number of key themes running through the building ‎and equipping of the Mishkan (tabernacle), the altar with its ‎incense and impact on the senses designed to remind us of the ‎need for constant prayer, and the eternal light filling the area with ‎light indicative of G-d’s presence eternally with us. We also now ‎read of commandments to make garments for Aaron, for the ‎priesthood….

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Parashat Ki Tisa

Idolatry It had all started so well, a dramatic departure from Egypt, the ‎parting of the Reed Sea, the miracles of deliverance and ‎redemption still vibrating in the communal memory, G-d had ‎acted to set us free! Moshe had gone up to receive the ‎teachings we were now to live by, and then… tragedy strikes. ‎Just how did we get from the amazing spiritual highs of the ‎Exodus and Sinai…

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Parashat Vayakhel

Why His way is not our way There are three themes that link together in this portion: The ‎commandments about Shabbat, the freewill offerings given by ‎the people and the building of the Mishkan.‎ Why start this set of three with Shabbat? Interestingly Adam and ‎Chava’s life after they were created began with Shabbat. Man’s ‎thinking would be to start with the first working day of the week, ‎but no,…

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Parashat Pekudei

Approaching G-d This week’s portion is one of the most profound we can have, an ‎almighty, eternal and utterly ‘other’ G-d, of pure Spirit and ‎normally invisible, comes, visibly and tangibly to fill the ‎completed Mishkan. The G-d who created everything material, ‎yet who is Himself not material, dwells, exists in time and space ‎in the heart of this construction. We get used to this idea and ‎think it’s fine…

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