Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei: Lessons from the Mishkan

Dear Scouts: This week, we close the book of Shemos (Exodus) with the double portion of Vayakhel and Pekudei. The two portions are read on separate Shabbats during a leap year in the Jewish calendar. We end as we began, with an accounting. Shemos starts with a description of the “70 souls” who entered Egypt with […]

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Parsha Yitro: Seeing the thunder

This week we have a guest d’var Torah by Rabbi Peter Hyman, former National Chaplain of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting. Let me begin by saying Mazal Tov and Yasher Koach to those who bring us Derech Tsofeh. Last week, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of Derech Tzofeh. This week, we start a sixth […]

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KI SEITZEI: Considering many mitzvot

Dear Scouts, This week’s parsha, Ki Seitzei, contains more mitzvot than any other parsha in the Torah. Among them are how a soldier is to treat a beautiful woman whom he captures and wants to marry; how children inherit a parent’s wealth; what parents are to do with a rebellious son; lost and found; marriages […]

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Parsha Shoftim: Learning from the best Scouting guide

Dear Scouts, In Parsha Shoftim (judges) this week, we learn about many leaders of the Children of Israel – judges, prophets, Kohanim (priests), the special Kohen for war, the Levites who cared for and guarded the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and later the Temple, and the king. No, not Elvis, but the real king. Here’s what we […]

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Parsha Re’eh: Preparing ourselves properly

Dear Scouts, In Parsha Re’eh, as Moses continues to prepare the Children of Israel to enter Canaan, a number of important aspects of daily life go from formality and ritual to very basic rules. During their time in the Wilderness, the Israelites received detailed instructions about the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the construction of its beautiful hangings […]

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Parsha Eikev: Appreciating our ‘gifts’

Dear Scouts, This week, in Parsha Eikev, Moses continues his review of certain important commandments given earlier in the Torah. He emphasizes all that God has done for them in bringing them out of Egypt using signs and wonders, and safeguarding them on their journey to the land promised to the Patriarchs. Moses tells the […]

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Parsha V’etchanan: Loving God

Dear Scouts, This week, in parsha V’etchanan, we begin with Moses asking God to reconsider the decree that he may not enter Canaan. God refuses to permit it, but tells Moses to climb a mountain and there look over the Land. Moses is to instruct Joshua to lead the people into Canaan. Moses turns his […]

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Parsha Devarim and the advent of Tisha B’Av

Tonight and tomorrow are Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, which is treated as a day of mourning. (More details below.) Because we do not mourn on Shabbat, we will observe Tisha B’Av on Saturday night and Sunday.  I offer this d’var Torah in memory of my father, […]

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Parshot MATTOS-MASEI: Using what has been given to you

Dear Scouts: This week, we read a double portion – the parshot Mattos and Masei. Masei describes the journey of the Children of Israel as they wandered from place to place – sort of a logbook of 40 years of travel. During that time, the Israelites camped in 42 different places. One of the many ways in […]

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Parsha Shelach: The story of the ‘scouts’

Dear Scouts, This week, in Parsha Shelach, we learn why the Children of Israel wandered 40 years in the desert. It’s because of the scouts. Not the Boy Scouts, but the meraglim, the “scouts” or “spies” who went to see Canaan and gather information about it to prepare the people for entering, conquering and settling […]

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