Parashat Ki Teitzei

Saturday 2 September 2017 Elul 11 5777 Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19; Isaiah 54:1-10; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 The Parashah of Ki Teitzei contains a huge array of civil and ethical precepts on a vast range of social topics, but it begins with guidelines for the behaviour of soldiers in war; specifically, in relation to the capture of civilians. Since our generation has an army that fights wars, we should probably read this Parashah very carefully. There are many moral dimensions to warfare, both individual and collective. Among these, the Torah acknowledges the existence of complex human sentiment when it comes to the enemy, and reveals instructions for a case where a soldier

Parashat Shoftim

Saturday 26 August 2017 Elul 4 5777 Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9; Isaiah 51:12-52:12; Titus 3:1-7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7) This week's Haftarah includes what might be the prophetic high mark in all Scripture. The great prophet Isaiah makes this proclamation after much of ancient Israel had been overrun and scattered by the brutal Assyrians, while the remaining region known as the Kingdom of Judah, where he lived, had barely escaped the same fate. Moreover, God had revealed to Isaiah that it

Parashat Re’ah

Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17; Isaiah 54:11-55:5; John 7: 37-52 This is the third in the series of seven haftaroth of consolation following Tisha B’Av. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. (Isaiah 54:13) This week's Haftarah (selection from the Prophets) looks to a future age and the restoration of the creation. One of the central aspects of these wonderful days is shalom (English: peace). Shalom is a personal and societal condition much deeper than the lack of war and strife. It's a way to describe life in perfect harmony, everything in its place, functioning as it should in right relationship to everything else. The reference to children

Parashat Eikev

Dev 7:12 – 11:25; Isaiah 49:14-51:3; Hebrews 11:8-13 God's Words And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:3; ESV) As Moses recaps the forty-year journey of the people of Israel through the wilderness, he explains the purpose of the provision of manna. Manna was the food that miraculously appeared on the ground each day, except on the Sabbath. Through this God was teaching the people to rely solely upon him. The statement "man does not live by bread alone, but ma

Parashat Va’etchanan

(Shabbat Nachamu) Deut 3:23-7:11; Isaiah 40:1-26; Matthew 23:1-3,16-23 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today? (Devarim/Deuteronomy 4:7-8) Standing (or sitting) before the people of Israel after forty years of wilderness wanderings, which followed being powerfully rescued by God from slavery in Egypt, Moses recounts their experiences as he prepares them to enter the Promised Land. At this point he enthusiastically exclaims the uniqueness of their relationship to God. No other nation on earth has

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