Weekly Drash

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Parashat Tzav

The Temple was not a ‘nice’ place to be. It was a bloody and ‎smelly place, not the place for the squeamish, blood was ‎everywhere. There were burning corpses of animals already ‎lifted up and offered as sacrifices to G-d, their blood draining ‎away into the gullies and drains around the altar. Blood, and the ‎sacrifices generally, were core to the daily work in the Mishkan ‎and later Temple. Sacrifices…

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Parashat Vayikra

The bloody path of returning to G-d Jewish children of five years old begin their Torah study with this book, otherwise known as the Torat Cohanim, the Torah for the Priests. How ghastly to start with something as horrific and bloodthirsty as animal sacrifices! Surely we should begin with the Creation, or the building of the Mishkan, something visual and hands on. But no, it begins with sacrifices. And don’t…

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Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei

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 Ki Tisa

“I’m sorry everyone, I’ve got a load of things to do today and I’m in a hurry so I need to rush through this.” Hmm, have you noticed we are always in a hurry? This has to be done, that has to be done. Even in our work, pressure is on us to meet deadlines etc… This week’s Sidra tells us that Moshe was still on the mountain with the…

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Parashat Tetzaveh

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. The Mishkan in…

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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 Mishpatim

“These are the rulings you are to present to them: If you purchase a Hebrew slave, he is to work six years; but in the seventh, he is to be given his freedom without having to pay anything. If he came single, he is to leave single; if he was married when he came, his wife is to go with him when he leaves. But if his master gave him…

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Parashat Yitro

Setting boundaries for protection This portion begins with our people waiting before Mount Sinai, encamped 3 days, expectant, having been commanded to go out and worship Him ‘on this mountain’. They had purified themselves and the encounter with G-d and Moshe is about to begin. Curiously Moshe is told to do something, read Shemot (Exodus) 19:10-13 and 21. He is told to ‘set bounds’ or build fences around the mount,…

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Parashat Beshalach

Tu b’shevat, the 15th of Shevat, is 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 we see today in the…

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Parashat Bo

In last week’s Parasha, G-d brought seven of the plagues on Egypt and each time we are told that Pharaoh hardened his heart. In this week’s Parasha, G-d brought a further three plagues upon them: a plague of locusts, darkness, and the death of the firstborn. After the first of these three, the locusts, Pharaoh called for Moshe and said… “I have sinned against ADONAI your G-d and against you….

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