Mar 17, 2018
Vayikra – And he called
Vayikra - And he called
 
Leviticus 1:1-5:26

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 "The Laws of the Priesthood," but in Judaism today, it is referred to by the name Vayikra (ויקרא), which means "And He called." Vayikra is the first Hebrew word of the book, which begins by saying, "And the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from inside the tent of meeting" (Leviticus 1:1).

Leviticus describes the sacrificial service and the duties of the priests. It also introduces ritual purity, the biblical diet, the calendar of appointed times, laws of holiness and laws relating to redemption, vows and tithes. In addition, Leviticus discourses on ethical instruction and holiness. The twenty-fourth reading from the Torah is eponymous with the Hebrew name of the book it introduces: Vayikra. This portion introduces the sacrificial service and describes five different types of sacrifices.

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  • Mar 17, 2018Vayikra – And he called
    Mar 17, 2018
    Vayikra – And he called
    Vayikra - And he called
     
    Leviticus 1:1-5:26

    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 "The Laws of the Priesthood," but in Judaism today, it is referred to by the name Vayikra (ויקרא), which means "And He called." Vayikra is the first Hebrew word of the book, which begins by saying, "And the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from inside the tent of meeting" (Leviticus 1:1).

    Leviticus describes the sacrificial service and the duties of the priests. It also introduces ritual purity, the biblical diet, the calendar of appointed times, laws of holiness and laws relating to redemption, vows and tithes. In addition, Leviticus discourses on ethical instruction and holiness. The twenty-fourth reading from the Torah is eponymous with the Hebrew name of the book it introduces: Vayikra. This portion introduces the sacrificial service and describes five different types of sacrifices.

  • Mar 10, 2018Vayakhel / Pekudei – He-gathered / Countings
    Mar 10, 2018
    Vayakhel / Pekudei – He-gathered / Countings
    Vayakhel / Pekudei - He-gathered / Countings
     
    Exodus 35:1-40:38
    The twenty-second reading from the Torah and the second-to-last reading from the book of Exodus is called Vayakhel (ויקהל), which means "and he assembled." The name comes from the first words of the first verse of the reading, which could be literally translated to read, "And Moses assembled all the congregation of the sons of Israel ..." (Exodus 35:1). This portion from the Torah describes how the assembly of Israel worked together to build the Tabernacle. In most years, synagogues read Vayakhel together with the following portion, Pekudei.

    The twenty-third reading from the Torah and last reading from the book of Exodus is called Pekudei (פקודי), which means "Accounts." The first words of the first verse of the reading could be literally translated to read, "These are the accounts (pekudei) of the Tabernacle" (Exodus 38:21). The last reading from Exodus begins with an audit of how the contributions for the Tabernacle were used. The portion goes on to describe the completion of the Tabernacle and its assembly and concludes by depicting the glory of the LORD entering it. In most years, synagogues read Pekudei together with the previous portion, Vayakhel; therefore, the comments on this week's reading will be brief.

  • Mar 3, 2018Ki Tisa – When you take
    Mar 3, 2018
    Ki Tisa – When you take
    Ki Tisa - When you take
     
    Exodus 30:11-34:35

    Ki Tisa (כי תשא), the twenty-first reading from the Torah, literally means "when you lift up." It comes from the first words of the second verse of the reading, which could be literally rendered, "When you lift up the head of the sons of Israel to reckon them" (Exodus 30:12). The phrase "lift up the head" is an idiom for taking a head count. The portion begins with instructions for taking a census, finishes up the instructions for making the Tabernacle, reiterates the commandment of Shabbat and then proceeds to tell the story of the golden calf. The majority of Ki Tisa is concerned with the sin of the golden calf, the breach in the covenant between God and Israel, and how Moses undertakes to restore that covenant relationship.

  • Feb 24, 2018Tetzaveh – You shall command
    Feb 24, 2018
    Tetzaveh – You shall command
    Tetzaveh - You shall command
     
    Exodus 27:20-30:10

    Tetzaveh is the twentieth reading from the Torah. Tetzaveh (תצוה) means "You shall command," as in the first verse of the reading, which says, "You shall [command] the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually" (Exodus 27:20). This Torah portion continues to narrate the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle, focusing particularly on the priesthood that was to serve in that sanctuary. The Israelites are commanded to make special garments for Aaron and his sons to wear while ministering as priests. After describing the priestly garments, the portion concludes with instructions for the ritual inauguration of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood.

  • Feb 17, 2018Terumah – Heave offering
    Feb 17, 2018
    Terumah – Heave offering
    Terumah - Heave offering
     
    Exodus 25:1-27:19

    The nineteenth reading from the Torah is named Terumah (תרומה). In Exodus 25:2, the LORD commanded Moses to "tell the sons of Israel to [take] a contribution for Me." The word translated as "contribution" is terumah (תרומה), which is the name of this Torah portion. Terumah is a word with no real English equivalent. In the Torah, terumah refers to a certain type of offering dedicated to the Temple, like a tithe or firstfruits offering. In Exodus 25, the contribution is for the building of a holy place. This Torah reading is occupied with the instructions for the building of the Tabernacle and its furnishings.

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