Chayei Sarah: Lessons of giving thanks

This weekend, as we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, we give thanks for our many blessings. We also pray for the welfare and safety of those in Israel who are suffering from fires set by terrorists. Dear Scouts, This week’s parsha is Chayei Sarah, “The Life of Sarah,” but it is really about her […]

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Parsha Lech Lecha: All about Abram

This week, I study in memory of my dear father-in-law, Milton Freedman, Mendel ben Sholom. He was the proud grandfather of many Scouts. Dear Scouts, This week’s parsha, Lech Lecha, teaches us about the beginnings of the Jewish people, with the first Jew, the Patriarch Abraham. We encounter Abraham on a journey. Last week, at […]

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BERESHIT: Learning from the creation story

This week Derech Tsofeh comes to you as we prepare for the 18th Houston Jewish Scout Retreat (Kinus) this weekend. Our theme is Sustainability. The first Houston Kinus was held 30 years ago. Dear Scouts, Once again, we begin the cycle of reading the Torah, with the story of the creation of the universe, Parsha Bereishit. […]

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Parsha Vezot HaBerachah: Blessings to renew another cycle

Dear Scouts, The parsha this week, Vezot HaBerachah, is the last of the Five Books of Moses. We read it this Shabbat, and again on Simchat Torah, when we celebrate both the completion and the beginning of the cycle of reading the Torah. The title, which means “And this is the blessing” comes from the […]

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Parsha Vayelech: Asking for and receiving forgiveness

(This week’s parsha is Vayelech, in which we learn about some of the things that happen on the last day of Moses’ life. On that day, Moses installs Joshua as his successor. Because Yom Kippur is next Tuesday night and Wednesday, instead of studying Vayelech, we prepare for Yom Kippur with one of my favorite […]

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Parsha Nitzavim: Short but to the point

This week, we bring back a guest d’var Torah by Jordan Block, Eagle Scout and student at Yeshiva Ohr Sameach in Jerusalem.  Shanah Tova! Dear Scouts: This week’s parsha, Nitzavim, is short. It’s really short. It’s so short, it doesn’t even have to lean over to tie its shoes. It’s so short, it won’t walk […]

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KI TAVO: Mitzvot to live by

Dear Scouts, The opening portions of this week’s parsha, Ki Tavo, describe the offering of the Bikurim, when farmers offered the harvest’s first fruits at the Temple, to thank God for providing them food. The person bringing the Bikurim made a confession, to recall how his ancestors were enslaved in Egypt and were redeemed by […]

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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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