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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 [...]
Parashat Devarim; Shabbat Hazon July 17, 2021, 8 Av 5781 Torah: Deuteronomy 1-3:22; Triennial 2:2-2:30 Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27 Not Just a Second Torah Ilana Kurshan With this week’s parashah we begin Sefer Devarim, the final book of the Torah and the one referred to by the Talmudic rabbis as Mishneh Torah – a second Torah (see, for instance, [...]
Parashat Matot-Masei July 10, 2021, 1 Av 5781 Torah: Numbers 30:2-36:13; Triennial 32:1-33:49 Haftarah: Isaiah 66:1-24 Diasporic Dispersal, Then and Now Ilana Kurshan The first of the two parshiyot we read this week, Matot, concludes with the request of two of the twelve tribes to remain on the near side of the Jordan River and [...]
Parashat Pinchas July 3, 2021, 23 Tamuz 5781 Torah: Numbers 25:10-30:1; Triennial 26:52-28:15 Haftarah: Jeremiah 1:1 - 2:3 Why Should We Be Excluded? Ilana Kurshan Our parashah introduces the five daughters of Tzlofchad, who petition Moshe to be allowed to inherit a portion in the land of Israel after their father died leaving no male [...]
Parashat Balak June 26, 2021, 16 Tamuz 5781 Torah: Numbers 22:2-25:9; Triennial 22:2-38 Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8 Flawed Prophets Ilana Kurshan In commenting on one of the final verses in the Torah— “never has there arisen in Israel a prophet like Moshe” (Deuteronomy 34:10)—the midrash raises a surprising challenge from our parashah. While it is true [...]