This week’s haftarah, from the book of Ezekiel, discusses the changing power structures and leadership in the changing times of Israel.
The study guide for Tazria focuses on pregnancy and childbirth and the outcomes of purity versus impurity derived from this.
Tazria takes its name from conception and childbirth. Ilana Kurshan connects this to bearing fruit, both literally and metaphorically.
Connected Parashat Shemini’s Haftarah, in Ezekiel, Bex Stern Rosenblatt explores the intersection of shame, guilt, and embarrassment.
This week’s study guide focuses on Nadav and Avihu, Aaron’s sons, bringing “foreign flames” to give an offering to God.
When we lash out angrily at others, it is not really we who are speaking, but the evil inclination that takes control of us from within.
This week’s haftarah explores human sacrifice. While the Tanakh seems to be mixed about it, God may command human sacrifice in this haftarah.
This week’s study guide focuses on the consecration of Aaron and his sons and Kohanim and what that means.
Parashat Tzav teaches us that in those moments when we don’t feel we have anything to offer, we offer nonetheless.
This week’s study guide focuses on two words, ma’al and me’ilah, and what it means, both literally and in terms of this week’s parashah.
At start of Leviticus, the Mishkan becomes the domain of Aaron and the priests, who are responsible for the system of sacrificial worship.
God created the world but it was not complete until a home was made for God. These homes come in the forms of the Mishkan and the Temple.
Parashat Pekudei describes the construction of the Mishkan in accordance with the specific instructions given by God to Moshe.
This week’s study guide explores the building of the Tabernacle. The exploration includes time worked and communal actions completed.
Jeoash, the king discussed in this week’s haftarah, becomes king at a young age. Does his goodness come from himself or his teachers?
In the film Raiders of the Lost Ark, archeologist Indiana Jones vies to recover the Ark of the Covenant, featured in this week’s parashah.
On Parashat Ki Tisa, honor someone in your community who embodies empathy and care. The Aliyah also marks the anniversary of the pandemic.
This week’s Haftarah parallels the parashah’s discussion on God. The Israelites face more attractive gods but return to God, in the end.
This week’s study guide explores the relationship between God and the Israelites, in the Israelites keeping the Sabbath for God.
Our parashah contains the Ten Commandments, as well as instructions for preparing the Ketoret, the incense offered in the Tabernacle.
This week’s study guide discusses details about the building of the mishkan and cleanliness in the context of prayer.
Ezekiel is rather similar to Moses. Both of them serve God and Israel outside of the land of Israel. This week’s Haftarah explores that.
This week’s study guide follows the concept of light used in the Mishkan, as compared with the light in the creation of the world.
This week’s parashah opens with God’s instructions to Moshe concerning the oil used for lighting the Menorah in the Mishkan.
Building Solomon’s Temple was perhaps the greatest feat ever of Jewish architecture. This week’s haftarah explores this more.
This week’s parshah discusses instructions for building accessories for the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. This includes a lavish, gold table.
Our parashah describes the creation of the Mishkan, especially the ark, holding the tablets, manna, Aaron’s staff, and oil.
The greatest story of our tradition is a story about freedom. This week’s Haftarah from Jeremiah explores freedom and our choices.
This week’s study guide presents commentary on the shemitah—sabbatical year—and giving to the poor or giving tzedakah.
Our parashah describes a puzzling episode, following the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai when elders of Israel envision God.
Can God change? Is the essence of eternity and divinity to never change or to be constantly evolving? Is change a human quality?
This week’s Haftarah, Isaiah, focuses on the promised destruction and regeneration. Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” depicts that.
The study guide for Parashat Yitro discusses the Ten Commandments and the relationships between fathers and children.
Our parashah contains the words of the Ten Commandments, which God speaks to Moses and the people of Israel from Mount Sinai.
Rethinking the Tanakh as a Musical and the Song of Deborah as one of the major musical numbers invites to reflect differently.
Moses is instructed to strike the stone as a water source with a rod because the Israelites are thirsty. What else did this rod do?
Just three days after escaping Egypt, the Israelites find themselves in the desert with no water, causing spiritual crises.
A claim to the land of Israel ranged from a covenant with Abraham to laws to keep the land. This week’s haftarah discusses that.
When Moses names a time for the final plague, the death of the first born, he isn’t as specific as we might expect, why?
This week’s parashah opens a conversation about when the beginning of the year is and the impact that it has on time itself.
What composes the inner grit, the resilient core of a person? Whatever it is, Pharoah is notoriously lacking.
Vaera opens with God reiterating the covenant made with Moshe’s ancestors. What’s the connection between this parshah and pizza toast?
This week’s haftarah brings meaning to words without meaning—nonsense—and how to pray without understanding the literal meaning.
The study guide for this week’s parashah focuses on the roles of the midwives in the beginning of the Exodus story.
Shemot describes the early years of Moshe’s life up to the pivotal moment when he is informed of his mission awaiting him in Egypt.
In this week’s parashah, Moshe is accused of “giving Pharaoh a sword to kill us,” in response to his demands of “let my people go.”
This week’s haftarah juxtaposes King David preparing for his own death with both Jacob and Joseph’s preparations for their own deaths.
In this week’s parashah, Jacob asks Joseph to swear to bury him not in Egypt but rather lay him to rest with his ancestors.
Parashat Vayechi chronicles the deaths of Jacob and his son, Joseph, both of whom provide explicit instructions regarding their burials.
Parashat Vayigash continues a long narrative of sibling relationships. The reconciliation focused on here, reflects in this week’s haftarah.
Joseph, after revealing his identity to his brothers, invites the family to Egypt. They share an emotional reunion and a good long cry.
In parashat Vayigash the patriarch Jacob learns the truth about his son Joseph, in realizing Joseph’s laden wagons.
In making sense of details we begin to construct the grander concept and we realize we are in the presence of something bigger.
The brothers need more food but were told not to return without their youngest brother, whom their father refuses to part with.
In parashat Miketz, Jacob sends his sons to Egypt, but unbeknownst to his sons, the ruler dispersing rations is their younger brother, Joseph.
Many of our sacred texts are deeply unsettling. Our ancestors are deeply flawed people and their stories do not present easy takeaways.
Study guide for Parashat Vayeshev, following the story surrounding Joseph and his interaction with his master’s wife.
In this week’s parashah, Judah’s daughter-in-law Tamar tricks him into sleeping with her after she is not able to conceive with his sons.
In the haftarah for Vayishlach, from the Book of Obadiah, we read the story of God rebuking the nation of Edom, rather than Israel.
A study guide for Parashat Vayishlach, focused on the midrashim surrounding the parashah and the reunification of Jacob and Esau.
On the eve of Jacob’s meeting with his brother Esau, he finds himself wrestling with a divine figure, winning, and receiving a new name.
As we read the stories of Jacob, it is worthwhile to pay attention to the interplay between hope and God as the redeemer us from various Sheols.
In the situation that revolves around Rachel and Leah’s respective marriages to Jacob, a question of loyalty to family is asked.
After leaving his father’s home, Jacob dreams of God and experiences prayer for the first time. Learn about living in dialogue with God.
In the haftarah for Parashat Toldot, the Book of Malachi describes a dialogue of pushback between God and the people of Israel.
Discuss commentary on Jacob and Esau’s interaction in Toldot. This study guide discusses the transaction of Esau’s birth right.
In Toldot, Isaac, now the family patriarch, bestows the blessing of the firstborn on Jacob instead of Esau, when Jacob tricks him.
With memories ever-changing, how do we trust what we remember and what is shared with us? How do we trust the memories of Torah characters?
Study guide: Why does Abraham focus so much on Isaac? What about Abraham’s other children and should they receive inheritance as well?
Parashat Chayei Sarah describes the final years of Abraham’s life, following the death of his wife Sarah and culminating in Abraham’s own death.
In Vayera’s haftarah, we read the story of Elisha and a big deal woman in Shunem reflecting three different models of hospitality.
Study Guide: What really happened when the angels visited Abraham and Sarah? Why did Sarah laugh when she heard what they had to say?
Parashat Vayera is about a tense and dramatic conversation between God and Abraham about the destruction of Sodom.
In Lech Lecha’s haftarah, we are given a vision of what our lives might have been, if only they’d been a little different.
Study Guide: Unpacking the disagreement between Avram and Lot when they had to split the land they were on.
Parashat Lech Lecha depicts an acute marital crisis between Abraham and Sarah that occurs at a particularly difficult moment in their lives.
In the wake of the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple, God explains that God has not in fact abandoned Zion.
Study Guide: What kind of society created the Tower of Babel? Would we want to live in that society? What did Rashi say?
We learn in Parashat Noach: God comes to appreciate, the problem was not creating human beings, but having unrealistic expectations of them.
If creation was ongoing but no one observed it, did it actually still happen? Did creation cease when God disappeared?
Study Guide: In the context of Creation, what is the connection between blessing, deficiency, and Shabbat?
In the beginning, according to God’s original plan, the Sun and the Moon were two who ruled alongside one another. What happened?