Weekly Drash

Post List

Parashat Toldot

There was an old woman who swallowed a spider, That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her, She swallowed the spider to catch the fly, I don’t know why she swallowed the fly, Perhaps she’ll die. Remember this humorous yet ridiculous song? I thought about this when thinking about this week’s Torah portion. Yitz’chak was forty years old when he took Rivkah, the daughter of B’tu’el the Arami from Paddan-Aram…

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Parashat Chayei Sarah

A woman of valour, who can find? This is a very important portion. It speaks of so many things that are historical patterns that have echoed throughout the ages since, the battle between Yitzchak and Ishmael, the choices made in the fleshly, carnal, physical realm rather than in the spiritual, and the lives and legacies of Sarah and Rivkah. Yet it’s named after the life of Sarah, the only Matriarch…

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Parashat Vayera – Spiritual Deception

Last week we considered how ‘mercy wins out over judgement’ as the core concept that lies behind the spiritual reality of the physical universe. Through Avraham, the route to redemption begins to take hold, revealing the power and ability of God to turn around any situation, however evil, for good. Those whose spirits are regenerated will see the tension between the spiritual and the physical and will see the triumph…

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Parashat Lekh L’kha (Go Out)

An old Rabbinic tradition tells of the Jewish community of Horodna. One winter’s night there was a heavy snowfall. The next morning the men of Horodna got up before dawn, put on their fur coats and hats and boots, and set out in the deep snow for the Shul. Whilst on their way, they heard what sounded like someone singing. In the dim pre-dawn light, they were surprised to see…

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Shabbat Noach: Knowing how to rest

It is said: Nomen est omen, you are your name. Here we have the first portion in the Torah named after a person, Noach, and his name comes from the Hebrew verb ‘lanuach’ which means to rest. His father chose the name because he felt that through him (Noach) rest would come, or comfort, as some translators have it, from the toil of the land. In some way Noach, as…

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Parashat Bereshit

The point of it all Here we are once more, our scroll rolled back to the start and the well-worn path of the history we seem to know so well starts up again. These early verses are so enigmatic; it’s almost as if we’re called to dig deep to understand the broad sweep of the truths contained therein. All of our history is contained in these few verses – and…

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Our Father the Rock

Parashat Ha’Azinu In Devarim 32 we read Moshe’s song of deliverance. This lyrical, sung format is meant to be learnt and sung to each new generation, a wonderful song of redemption amidst rebellion, a song of hope and prophecy, of gloom and the ultimate hope of salvation. It’s a song of possibilities, riven with the anguish of a prophet who loved G-d and His people, yet knowing the end from…

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Asking the right questions

The major theme in this portion focuses on returning to G-d; the Hebrew word shuv comes very often into these passages, returning to the Land, to G-d and to Torah obedience. This passage reflects so much the final thoughts on the whole Chumash journey, it takes a good hard look at the whole scenario and proposes a way ahead. It begins in the Garden, and as the 5 books of…

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Living in the Kingdom

This portion is all about the principles of government in Israel, ‎how to rule yourselves. In Devarim 16 we are told to appoint ‎judges and officers in our gates/towns. The portion also includes ‎the crucial section on ‘a better prophet’ and how/when/if a king is ‎to be appointed. It teaches us about justice and righteousness, ‎the need for witnesses who are unbiased and truly neutral, how ‎evidence needs to be…

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Mountains of Blessing

This portion begins with ‘Behold’, or possibly, ‘See this, look at this’. G-d had put before the Israelites the blessings and the curses, a choice, decisions to be made. In Hebrew the concept of ‘seeing’ is tied to understanding, as it is in English too, I see it (understand it). What was the concept the people were to see or understand? Quite a simple one really, if you follow G-d…

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