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Parashat Lech Lecha October 16, 2021, 10 Heshvan 5782 Torah: Genesis 12:1-17:27; Triennial 16:1-17:27 Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27-41:16 Men Count the Stars, Women are From Venus Ilana Kurshan  Parashat Lech Lecha depicts an acute marital crisis between Abraham and Sarah that takes place at a particularly difficult moment in their lives. As we learn from the [...]
Parashat Noah October 9, 2021, 3 Heshvan 5782  Torah: Genesis 6:9-11:32; Triennial 11:1-32 Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-55:5 (Ashkenazim); Sephardim Isaiah 54:1-10  A Trail of Crumpled Papers on the Floor Ilana Kurshan  My daughter is an incorrigible perfectionist. Whenever she asks to draw a picture, I know to bring her several pieces of paper. One page will not [...]
Parashat Bereshit October 2, 2021, 26 Tishrei 5782  Torah: Genesis 1:1-6:8; Triennial 5:1-6:8 Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5-43:10 (Ashkenazim); Sephardim Isaiah 42:5-42:21  The Moon is Always Female Ilana Kurshan  Is true equality possible? Can husband and wife—or man and woman—aspire to be genuine equals? The rabbis hint at an answer to these questions while musing on a verse [...]
Parashat Haazinu September 18, 2021, 12 Tishrei 5782  Torah: Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52; Triennial 32:1-32:52 Haftarah: II Samuel 22:1-51  You Don’t Love Me! Ilana Kurshan  Parashat Haazinu consists of a lengthy poem that God instructs Moshe to teach to the children of Israel. In the opening verse—which is also the first line of the poem—Moshe invokes heaven [...]
Parashat Vayelech; Shabbat Shuvah September 11, 2021, 5 Tishrei 5782  Torah: Deuteronomy 31:1-30; Triennial 31:1-30  Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:17  No Child Left Behind Ilana Kurshan  Parashat Vayelech describes the commandment to read from the Torah publicly on Sukkot of the sabbatical year, when all the Israelites would gather in Jerusalem for the pilgrimage festival. This mitzvah, [...]
Parashat Nitzavim September 4, 2021, 27 Elul 5781  Torah: Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20; Triennial 29:9-30:20 Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10-63:20  The Torah’s Elastic Clause Ilana Kurshan  In this week’s parashah, Moshe reaffirms the covenant between God and Israel in the presence of all of the people, who are gathered before him on the steppes of Moav. The Torah stresses [...]
 Parashat Ki Tavo Aug 27, 2021, 20 Elul 5781  Torah: Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8; Triennial 26:12-28:6 Haftarah: Isaiah 60:1-22  Why Does the Blind Man Carry a Torch? Ilana Kurshan  Parashat Ki Tavo contains a reaffirmation of the covenant between God and Israel, including a list of blessing and curses that will befall the Israelites depending on whether [...]
 Parashat Ki Teitzei Aug 21, 2021, 13 Elul 5781  Torah: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19; Triennial 23:8-24:13 Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-10  Gamma Rays and the World to Come Ilana Kurshan  Parashat Ki Teitzei contains one of the largest concentrations of mitzvot in the Torah, including the commandment to send away the mother bird before taking its young. The Torah [...]
Parashat Shoftim Aug 14, 2021, 6 Elul 5781 Torah: Deuteronomy 16:18 - 21:9 Haftarah: Isaiah 51:12 - 52:12 The King and I Ilana Kurshan Parashat Shoftim describes the various leaders who will govern Jewish society once the Israelites enter the Promised Land: judges, magistrates, prophets, priests, and, surprisingly, a king. This is the first time [...]
Parashat Re'eh Aug 7, 2021, 29 Av 5781 Torah: Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17; Triennial 12:29-14:29 Haftarah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5 Of Idols and Ideals Ilana Kurshan  Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, Moshe issues repeated injunctions to the people to avoid idolatrous practices. When they enter the land of Canaan, a land populated by nations who worship other gods, the [...]
Parashat Ekev July 31, 2021, 22 Av 5781 Torah: Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25; Triennial 9:4-10:11 Haftarah: Judges 49:14-51:3  Bread in Our Baskets Ilana Kurshan  In this week’s parashah, Moshe continues to review the experiences of the Israelites in the desert. He makes repeated mention of the manna which God provided the Israelites for the duration of their [...]
Parashat Va’etchanan, Shabbat Nahamu July 24, 2021, 15 Av 5781 Torah: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11; Triennial 5:1-6:25 Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26  Never Forget? Ilana Kurshan In this week’s parashah, Va’etchanan, Moshe repeatedly warns the people of Israel that they must not forget the experience of revelation or the covenant at Sinai: “Take utmost care and do not forget [...]