Studying Torah Requires Searching the Scriptures

At the very center of the Torah are the words “Search, search!” The same words can be understood to mean, “Study, study!” Portion Summary Shemini is the twenty-sixth reading from the Torah and third reading from the book of Leviticus. The word shemini (שמיני) means "eighth," and it comes from the first words of Exodus 9:1, which says, … Continue reading Studying Torah Requires Searching the Scriptures

The Imperishable

The holy Temple and all the sacrifices that take place in it point toward immortality and incorruptibility. The sacrifices are not about death; they are all about life. Portion Summary The twenty-fifth reading from the Torah and second reading from the book of Leviticus is called Tzav (צו), which means "Command." The name comes from the first … Continue reading The Imperishable

Messiah and the Sacrifices

In today’s world, when there is no Temple, the laws of the sacrifices seem obsolete and irrelevant. Are they really?   Portion Summary The title "Leviticus" is derived from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Torah. The book of Leviticus is predominantly concerned with Levitical rituals. An older Hebrew name for the book was … Continue reading Messiah and the Sacrifices

Expounding the Torah

Did Moses speak in tongues? Tradition says that Moses spoke the words of the book of Deuteronomy in the seventy languages of humanity. Portion Summary Devarim (דברים) is both the title for the last book from the scroll of the Torah and the title of the first Torah portion therein. Devarim means "words." The English-speaking world calls this … Continue reading Expounding the Torah

The Complainer and the Atheist

SHELACH Portion Summary The thirty-seventh reading from the Torah is called Shelach(שלח), an imperative verb that means "send out." The portion is so named from the first few words of the second verse: "Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan" (Numbers 13:2). The Torah reading tells the tragic … Continue reading The Complainer and the Atheist