Parsha MISHPATIM: Learning responsibility

Dear Scouts: This week’s Torah portion is Mishpatim – Judgments. It discusses cases that come before a court. Last week, in Parsha Yitro, we learned how God gave us the Ten Commandments. We also saw that Moses, acting on the advice of his father-in-law, Yitro, established courts headed by distinguished members of the community. Since […]

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Parshat BESHALLACH: Trust, the first point

This week we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Derech Tzofeh with a guest d’var Torah by Rabbi Josh Feigelson, PhD.  He is founder and director of Ask Big Questions, a project created by Hillel International to help leaders in colleges, universities, and other organizations lead effective community conversations. Rabbi Feigelson is an Eagle Scout (1989) […]

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Parsha BO: Pride goeth before…

Dear Scouts, Last week, we learned of the first seven of the Ten Plagues. This week, in Parsha Bo, God sends the last three plagues upon Egypt: Swarms of locusts that covered the entire land; six days of intense darkness; and the death of the first born of all people and animals, except the Israelites. […]

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Parsha SHEMOT: Reading the Book of Exodus

Dear Scouts: This week’s parsha, Shemot, contains some of our best-known Torah stories. Joseph dies and a new king arises over Egypt “who did not know Joseph”. Pharaoh gradually enslaves the Jews. He is afraid that the Israelites have become so numerous and strong that they could become Egypt’s enemies, so he decides to kill […]

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Parsha Vayechi: Going home

This week, I write in memory of a long-time friend and teacher, Marvin Smith. A Scout for some 80 years, Marvin served in many positions, including chair of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, and received the Silver Buffalo Award. He died early this month at the age of 91. Dear Scouts: Sometimes, you just […]

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Parsha VAYIGASH: The lessons of Joseph

Dear Scouts, This week, we study Parsha Vayigash – “he approached.” The approach this sentence describes is Judah approaching the Viceroy of Egypt, who Judah and the other brothers do not realize is their brother Joseph. But there are other important approaches we will discover. In last week’s parsha there is a touching scene where […]

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Parsha MIKIETZ: A birthday greeting?

Dear Scouts: When we left Joseph last week, in Parsha Vayeishev, his brothers had sold him to a caravan of merchants on their way to Egypt. In Egypt, he was again sold, this time as a servant in the home of Pharaoh’s chief butcher, Potiphar. After a time, Potiphar was given custody two other members of the royal household, […]

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Parsha Vayislach: Finding your staff

Dear Scouts, This week, in Parsha Vayishlach, we pick up Jacob’s story as he leaves the home of Laban, his father-in-law, in Padan-aram. Jacob has lived there for 20 years and is traveling home to Canaan. Jacob’s brother Esau lives in Canaan, and Jacob fears Esau still hates him because Jacob “stole” Esau’s birthright and […]

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