Seven Minute Torah
Nitzavim: Not in the Heavens

Nitzavim: Not in the Heavens

September 20, 2022

What does it mean when we say that we all stood at Sinai? This week's Torah portion - and the Rabbinic texts that comment on it - teach that Judaism belongs to all of the Jewish people in every generation.

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Ki Tavo: Remember Where You Came From

Ki Tavo: Remember Where You Came From

September 14, 2022

In Ki Tavo the Israelites are commanded to bring their "first fruits" as an offering to God. The words they recite during that ritual are a reminder of how our past shapes us, and how we shape the future.

Ki Tetze: The Mother Bird

Ki Tetze: The Mother Bird

September 6, 2022

In a parashah full of laws, an unexpected commandment about eggs, birds, and nests presents an opportunity to talk about the values behind our choices and actions. We will explore the mitzvah of the "mother bird" through the eyes of two medieval commentators, and discover what values they believe sit behind it.

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Shoftim: Judaism in Constant Evolution

Shoftim: Judaism in Constant Evolution

August 30, 2022

This week's parashah is about various kinds of leaders in ancient Israel. It's also about the way Judaism is constantly evolving - and our ongoing responsibility to find new meanings in ancient traditions.

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Re’eh: Eating is an Act of Holiness

Re’eh: Eating is an Act of Holiness

August 23, 2022

This parashah describes the dietary laws - what Jews traditionally may and may not eat. What is a liberal Jewish approach to keeping kosher?

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Ekev: Helping the Rains Fall

Ekev: Helping the Rains Fall

August 16, 2022

This week's parashah, Ekev, contains the middle paragraph of the Shema - a challenging passage that speaks of God as Source of "reward and punishment." Should this passage be in our prayerbook? How might we read it through modern eyes. Turns it out can also be read as an ecological text.

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V’etchanan: Teach Them To Your Children

V’etchanan: Teach Them To Your Children

August 9, 2022

This week we dig into the Shema and the command to "v'shinantam l'vanecha - teach (words of Torah) to your children." How has this become such a central idea in Jewish life today?

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D’varim & Tisha B’Av: Learning from the Past

D’varim & Tisha B’Av: Learning from the Past

August 3, 2022

With D'varim we begin the final book of Torah. Moses reminds the Israelite people of some past failures - with an eye toward helping them build a better future.

Mattot-Masei: What About the Hard Parts of Torah?

Mattot-Masei: What About the Hard Parts of Torah?

July 26, 2022

It would be easier to skip the story of the Israelite war with Midian. But by facing it, we can commit to learn from it and to do better going forward.

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Questions and comments: rabbistreiffer@gmail.com.

Pinchas: Zealotry, Extremism, and ”Covenant of Peace” (A Conversation with Rabbi Stacey Blank)

Pinchas: Zealotry, Extremism, and ”Covenant of Peace” (A Conversation with Rabbi Stacey Blank)

July 19, 2022

A conversation with Rabbi Stacey Blank: Pinchas is a parashah about extremism. What do we do with the Torah's apparent celebration of a violent act, and how can that reading of the text inform the ways we deal with religious extremism in our own society? Plus, we talk about Jerusalem, about liberal Judaism in Israel, and about feminine language in prayer.

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