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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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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