Parsha Balak: Learning valuable lessons

Dear Scouts, This week, we learn the lesson that some people just cannot learn a lesson. In Parsha Balak, King Balak of the Moabites hears that God has given the Israelites victory against the nearby Amorites. Balak fears the Israelites. He seeks out Balaam, the prophet that God has given the non-Jewish nations. Balak sends […]

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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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Parsha Acharei Mot: Thinking about change

Dear Scouts, This week’s parsha, Acharei Mot, includes one of the most interesting ceremonies from the days of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and Beit HaMikdash (Temple), the Yom Kippur ceremony of the two goats. The High Priest casts lots to choose between two male goats. One goat is offered as a sacrifice for God, and the […]

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Passover 5776

Dear Scouts, Tonight, we begin Pesach – Passover – the holiday of our freedom.  We will celebrate by having a seder, and reading the Haggadah. The Haggadah is an interesting book, filled with both questions and answers that lead to more questions. This somewhat confusing construction is intended to make us curious about the story […]

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Parsha Metzorah: An avian cure for lashon hara?

Dear Scouts, This week, Parsha Metzorah teaches us about the ritual to purify someone who had been cured of tzaraas – the disease marked by discolored flaky skin. The ceremony involved two birds.  One of the birds was sacrificed and then buried, the other one was set free in an open field. Rabbi Eliezer Simcha […]

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Parsha Tazria: Eight is not enough

I offer this week’s d’var Torah in honor of the bris today of my grandson Aharon Pinchas Block, son of Chana and Eagle Scout Jordan Block, in Jerusalem. Dear Scouts, In Parasha Tazria, having completed the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the inauguration of the Kohanim and the Mishkan itself, the Torah turns us […]

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Parsha Shemini: Igniting the fire within

Dear Scouts, In Parsha Shemini, we learn about the inauguration ceremony for the Mishkan (Tabernacle).  After seven days of preparation, the ceremony takes place on the eighth day (shemini means eighth). Moses calls Aaron and his sons to prepare offerings. Aaron and his sons prepare the offering to atone for their own sins and then for […]

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Parsha Tsav: Eternal flames

Dear Scouts, This week’s parsha, Tzav, teaches us an important lesson about continuity. Tzav continues the Book of Leviticus’s instructions about the Kohanim (Priests) and the holy services to be conducted in the Mishkan (Tabernacle), and later the Temple. God gives us instructions about several of the offerings made in the Mishkan. The last several […]

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Parsha Pekudei: Exiting Exodus

Dear Scouts, This week’s parsha, Pekudei, is the last of the Book of Exodus. It begins with Moses accounting for all the precious items that the people had contributed for the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) – the gold, silver, copper, colored wool, precious stones and linen – describing how each had been used for […]

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Parsha Ki Sisa: Counting begins with you

This week, I write in memory of Rabbi Joseph Radinsky z”l, who passed away last Friday. Rabbi Radinsky was the rabbi emeritus of United Orthodox Synagogue of Houston, Texas, to which he came 40 years ago and served for 27 years. He was a friend of Scouting, welcoming Scouts to the synagogue for Scout Shabbat, […]

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