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Parsha Devarim

Parsha Devarim

Parsha Devarim דְּבָרִים is the forty-fourth parsha in the annual reading cycle. It is the first reading in Dueteronomy (Devarim). As per Rabbi Sacks, This parsha contains the Preamble and the beginning of the Historical Prologue for the renewed covenant.

HaDevarim הַדְּבָרִים is translated as “the words“. It has been shortened to “words

HaDevarim הַדְּבָרִים is the second word and the first distinctive word in the Hebrew text (see text below).

Acharei Mot – Kedoshem

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We have a double portion this week. The 29th reading Acharei Mot אַֽחֲרֵ֣י מ֔וֹת and the 30th reading Kedoshem קְדשִׁ֣ים are combined to create our third double reading during the annual reading cycle, also it is the second in Leviticus (Vayikra). This double reading occurs in the years 2021, 2023, 2025, 2026, 2028, 2029, 2031, 2032,  and 2034.

Acharei Mot/ Kedoshim parsha summary

Acharei Mot reaches back to chapter ten and picks up the narrative “from the death” of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu. God speaks to Moses to instruct Aaron concerning the Yom Kippur service. God continues His discourse, this time His instructions are addressed to Aaron, his sons and all of Israel about eating the blood of animals. Afterwards, God provides instruction the to entire nation concerning sexual relationships. This ends parsha Acharei Mot.

Vayakhel – Pekudei


We have a double portion this week. The 22nd reading Vayakhel וַיַּקְהֵ֣ל and the 23rd reading Pekudei פְקוּדֵ֤י are combined to create our first double reading. This is typical during a normal reading cycle. This week’s reading brings us to the conclusion of the book of Exodus (Shemot).

Vayakhel / Pekudei parsha summary

In parsha Vayakhel, we begin with Moses assembling the entire Israelite community and he provides instructions about lighting a fire on the Sabbath. From here he provides the instructions on the collection of the materials for the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Afterwords, he  selects Betzalel and Chur as the architects for the construction of the mishkan.

005: Genesis 1 Commentary: 7 Days of Creation, Pt.3, Day 4, Commentary on Bereshit

Sun, Moon, Stars

In the first phase of creation we saw the words of God create the inanimate world which included vegetation. Beginning with the 4th day we see the second phase of creation occurring as it parallels and complements the first three days. In this study, we investigate day 4 of creation. We begin by looking at the golden thread. Then we discover how day 4 connects to day 1. By looking at the text we will see the three purposes for the sun, moon, and stars. Once more we will compare our story to the epic of Gilgamesh and other texts in the Tanak.

004: Genesis 1 Commentary: 7 Days of Creation Pt. 2, Commentary on Bereshit

7 Days of Creation

The golden thread of Genesis 1 continues! We will see how it flows through days 2 and 3 of the creation. Also in this lesson, we will discuss the firmament and how the Hebrew text reveals an answer the English translations totally miss. We explore the age old question, “why is day two not deemed as good.”  As we progress to day 3, we will look at the epic of Gilgamesh and how it compares to the Torah story of creation and much more.

003: Genesis 1 Commentary: 7 Days of Creation, Commentary on Bereshit

The creation story of Genesis 1 & 2 is very familiar to us today. The ancients would have seen and understood it different than we do. In the ancient world, the creation section would have been common discussion among the learned and wise men. This is still true today.  However, this question for our study is how would the ancient’s understood the creation story?

Parsha Toledot

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Parsha Toledot

Parsha Toledot תּֽוֹלְדֹ֥ת is translated as “generation” and is the sixth Torah reading in the annual reading cycle. There are four ways to spell “t-o-l-e-d-o-t”, “t-o-l-d-o-t”, “t-o-l-d-o-s”, or “t-o-l’-d-o-t-h”

Parsha Toledot Summary

Parsha toledot begins with Isaac and his descendants. Rebekah becomes pregnant and has a difficult pregnancy. She discovers the twins, Esau and Jacob, are struggling within her because they are both nations. We  are given a brief description of the twins. Then our story reveals how Esau sells his birthright to Jacob.

Famine occurs in the land. HaShem instructs Isaac not to leave the land. King Abimelech takes Rebekah and HaShem reveals his displeasure to him. Abimelech confronts Isaac and sends them away. From here Isaac struggles with the Philistines over his father’s wells. Esau marries two women, Judith and Basemath. Isaac blesses Jacob and sends him away to Paddan-aram to Laban his uncle.

Toledot תּֽוֹלְדֹ֥ת is the second word and in the Hebrew text (see text below).

002: Genesis 1 Commentary: Umberto Cassuto – 6 Things about the Creation Story

Umberto Cassuto: WSB Show Episode 002

Umberto Cassuto is considered the greatest Jewish Scholar of the twenty-century by is peer.  In this episode of the WSB Show we introduce the man and the methods he used to research and write his commentary on Genesis from Adam to Abraham. 

We all have an experience with Genesis 1:1. Perhaps it was your first memory verse. I have a question for you, have you ever read Genesis 1 and thought “what am I missing? I know there is more here than meets the eye.” Have you ever had the thought, “I wonder what Jewish teachers have to to say about this chapter?” Well, they have a lot to say. However, I am going to share with you what the greatest Jewish scholar of the twenty-century had to say. By the way did I mention, this is one of the first Torah lessons taught in children in public schools in Israel? Download the resource for this teaching and follow along as we explore Genesis 1.