Weekly Torah Portion

Parshat Shoftim contains the Torah's vision of how a Jewish state should be governed. There are provisions made for judges, law-givers, priests, a court system with rules of testimony, prophets and false prophets,  and, ostensibly at the top of the heap, a king. Kings have been in charge of counries, city-states, empires - all kinds of entities - for most of human history. We are lucky enough to live in a time when things have changed, and, in the west at least, most of us live in democracies.


Previous Torah Portions

In this week's parsha, Re'eh, we are told to not disfigure ourselves when mourning the death of a loved one. Apparently, it was the  custom among the ancient Canaanite people to wound themselves as part of their mourning rituals. The Torah tells us that we, as God's chosen people, a holy people, should not do this.
This week's parsha, Eikev, is the third in the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy). It contains a section which is recited daily in the morning and evening prayers, as the second paragraph of the Shema. In the Torah, it appears a few chapters after the first paragraph of the Shema, which is in last week's parsha, Va'etchanan.
A theme that has been much discussed over the last weeks, especially in traditional, Orthodox circles here in Israel, is the question, What happens to all our apparently unanswered prayers? This discussion, which, of course, is not new, began with the announcement that the three kidnapped boys had, in fact, been murdered.

Jewish Holidays

Pesach: Pesach - Free Then, Got to be Free Now

Passover, as we all know, is, first and foremost, about memory.

Jewish Life Cycle

In parshat Bereishit 2:24 it says:"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one flesh".

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Every week, parshaoftheweek.com brings you a rich selection of material on parshat hashavua, the weekly portion traditionally read in synagogues all over the world. Using both classic and contemporary material, we take a look at these portions in a fresh way, relating them to both ancient Jewish concerns as well as cutting-edge modern issues and topics. We also bring you material on the Jewish holidays, as well as insights into life cycle rituals and events...

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