Commentaries for 5782

9/11:  May we build upon the memories of those departed from this world through the blessings they bestowed upon us... 

Shabbat Shalom! Do we pursue true repentance and amends? At Beit Torah we strive to do so:

Shuvah, VaYeilech 5782 Return, Atone, Amend; Dvarim 31; Hosea 14:2-10; Joel 2:15-27

Moshe has gotten old and needs to retire.

As military leader, he has no fire.

So Joshua is charged to be HaShem’s hand,

To do HaShem’s will when Folk enter the Land,

Post-softening up those to be dispossessed,

Before the People move in and Josh can rest.

All the Law teachings to be kept with the Ark

And read at Sukkot every Shmitah year

So then all Folk could be kept out of the dark:

Women, children, men, even strangers would hear!

Although now Torah’s read throughout the year

And completed every third or - each year…

At the Tent of Meeting the transfers occurred:

Leadership to Josh; the writings by the Ark;

Predictions to Levites and to each Elder:

Moish dies; Folk stiffnecked; forewarned in song so stark,

Taught to the People that evil comes to all

If they’re idolatrous or spurn the Brit Laws…

We now encourage all to write at least part

Of a Torah during their life if they’re smart...

Recognize now your guilt, repent, and be healed”,

Shuva Haftorah says, so life will be sealed.

Do not let a mockery be our Nation

With no sign of HaShem by others perceived…

Atone in truth so blessings can be received.

As in Tashlich, hurl all sins into the sea!

The predicting poem, come the next week will be...

May we forgive trespasses against us and be forgiven for ours! May we lovingly return to a life of mitzvot!

Gmar Chatima Tova!

And Shabbat Shalom!

Our hearts go out to Afghans and the victims of Hurricane Ida. Help if you can, please.

for Sept. 18

Shabbat Shalom! Do we hear and heed the Laws of the Brit? At Beit Torah we strive to do so:

HaAzinu 5782 Listen Up and Heed!; Dvarim 32; 2 Samuel 22

Before the Heavens and the Folk Kin

Moshe’s nourishing words were spoken:

We children who strayed need to recall

HaShem who gives power to us all.

The Elders will unite, repeat the history

To all who stray: of the hungry desert eagle

Led to highlands of plenty grown fat and regal,

Forgetting Hashem, to the Brit a vexation,

Paying dearly for poor choices with misery

So deeply felt, some will repent their relation

To the evil they’ve done until they’re fully healed,

Enemies destroyed, Nations proclaiming our weal!

These words Moshe and Joshua recited

Before all the People who were warned to heed,

To rely on Brit in our hearts to save our lives…

Moshe rose up to meet Mt. Nebo’s ascension need,

Facing Jericho, the Promised Land he could see,

A long desired place where his body would never be…

The Haftorah length this week with the Parasha length competes,

An unusual occurrence, not an ordinary feat!

In deep felt gratitude David prepared his song,

Thankful to have escaped murderous Saul so long,

Enough to be rescued despite anguish and fear

As HaShem recognized his faithfulness was clear…

So David followed HaShem’s guiding lights

And knew he could reach anointed heights...

Gmar Chatima Tova!

On Yom Kippur, Wednesday eve through Thursday

And Shabbat Shalom!

Our hearts go out to Afghans and the victims of Hurricane Ida. Help if you can, please.

High Holy Days 5782

Once more we embark upon a New Year.

Once more we tremble with a well known fear:

Were we good enough to deserve Good Book sealing -

Or will we be left with adversity, reeling?

One more chance on Sukkot to shed our sins

Since on Hoshanah Rabah the willow we’ll beat

Until all leaves whirl loose upon the wind

Before the gates of Heaven then retreat.

So we wish one and all a sweet New Year

With happiness, blessings, health and good cheer!

Dripping Sukkot 5782

So up went the Sukkah taller, bigger, better

Much to the deep disagreement of the weather.

With area flood warnings, lightning, thunder, and rain;

It looks like we might have a soggy week again!

Still that won’t stop us from the very festive mood

Of lulav, etrog, and all the yummy, good food…

Of ushpizim and family joining to feast…

So we hope it will be dry for the meals at least!

Simchat Torah ! Do we rejoice in the law? At Beit Torah we strive to do so:

Simchat Torah 5782 ; Dvarim 33-4; Joshua 1:1-18; Bereishit 1-2:3

Zot Habracha, This is the Blessing

So Moshe blessed the People with much hope,

Reminding all that HaShem reached out

To beloved People in many places,

Those who in heritage and teachings stout…

The King of the Upright then spoke of tribes:

The few of the Reubenites will survive;

Judah’s tribe will be helped against their foes;

Levite’s rules followed more than kin goes;

Ben protected; Joseph blessed above bro’s;

Myriads of Ephraim as bulls, wild;

Thousands of Menashe also so riled;

Zebulan will go on journeys a lot;

Heights to sea/sand riches Issachar got;

A Lion of Justice for Israel, Gad;

A lion’s whelp from Bashan Mountains, Dan -

(Though not his portion ‘til conquered later);

Naphtali lived in South and West rich lands;

Beloved securely, Asher oil maker;

Thus all tribes were given a hopeful stand…

For all Hashem’s refuge protects, shields,

Loves so Moshe viewed the Land, the whole field

From Pisgah of Mount Nebo he saw!

Then in Moab land he went out to die

But none knew his final burial site…

For thirty days bewailed; Folk grief was raw…

Joshua as planned took over the reins.

None ever rose up like Moshe again…

Bereishit – [the beginning of] In the Beginning

Six epochs of time the Creation took.

After each one, HaShem took a good look.

Deciding that all what was seen was good…

For the seventh time frame: rest as one should...

Chag Sameach !

Shabbat Shalom! How will we start this cycle anew? At Beit Torah we we will discuss what we can do:

Bereishit 5782 In the Beginning!; Bereishit 1-6:8; Isaiah 42:5 - 43:10

Bereishit –  In the Beginning

Six epochs of time the Creation took.

After each one, HaShem took a good look.

Deciding that all what was seen was good…

For the seventh time frame: rest as one should…

Now man who was made in a lush garden was placed.

Eden it was called, a location we’ve not traced.

To not be lonely, a helpmate for him was made.

The only rule: No eating from the knowledge tree!

Serpent was wily, enticed the gullible maid

To eat the fruit of the forbidden tree -

So when HaShem came a looking, what was to see?

Both children had eaten the fruit and were hid

As they knew they were naked and no longer kids…

HaShem was wroth, a price was to be paid:

So the Serpent crawled on belly then on

And People were expelled from garden fronds…

As children do, their Cain and Abel fought.

Cain killed Abel, then by HaShem was caught -

Left to procreate inventive offspring

While brother Seth and other sibs did bring

Adam’s and Eve’s genealogy line…

Mixed with Nephilim, half- E. T.’s,

The population grew less and less fine.

Cruelty, hatred, bigotry was seen;

Wickedness and perversions did abound -

But Hashem viewed Noach with favor found...

Shabbat Shalom!

Our hearts go out to Afghans and the victims of Hurricane Ida as well as all the ever increasing gun violence victims. Help if you can, please.

Shabbat Shalom! Can we prevent another mabul? At Beit Torah we we will discuss what we can do:

Noach 5782 Arrogance; Bereishit 6:9-11:32; Isaiah 54:1-10 [Sephard]

Noach was quite kind, honest, and fair.

He had three sons for whom to take care.

Still in a world so lawless and vile,

‘Twas hard to be cautious all the while…

So HaShem chose to start once again

By bringing on a flood with much rain.

Yet before ‘twas done, Noach was told

A three deck ark to build with roof hatch

For Folk and critters and food to hold,

Including family and his catch

Of two couples each impure critter,

Of seven couples of those ones pure,

And food enough to feed all aboard…

Then seven days later came rain tour

Continuous for forty long days…

For one hundred fifty full days more

Only water afar could be seen.

Then for forty days water recedes

Until Noach sent out a raven

That ate carrion but then came back

As did the dove sent also to look

For a place to roost along her track…

Seven more days once more dove sent out,

Returned with an olive leaf sprout!

Seven days more, dove sent out again

Not to return as rest spot was gained.

Fifty-six days more, all left the ark.

Noach built a sacrifice altar

In gratitude to HaShem and Hark!

HaShem promised him “never again”

With a covenant of no blood to eat,

No murder allowed, a Rainbow Brit!

Noach was farming vineyards and land.

In drunken sleep naked found by Ham.

His youngest son was rebuked quite hard…

Yet all in re-population starred

To spread to islands, lands and cities,

Mountains, nomads, beaches, folks of seas…

With all one language, arrogance came,

So they thought to build high to their fame

A tower on which would rest their name.

If left to succeed then thought HaShem:

Any goal they would have, they could do…

HaShem with others made speech garbled,

[Why?] Communications confounded…

The tower fell amidst the babble,

The dispersion of Folk compounded...

Shem’s line led to Nachor, then Tarach,

Dad of Avram, Haran, and Nachor.

In Ur they lived until Haran died

[In the Elamite invading war?].

So Tarach took Avram, Sarai, and Lot

Away West to Chauran where they stopped

Although en route to a Canaan spot.

Lot, son of Haran, was as a son

Won to “an exalted Dad”, Avram…

Together they’ll flee moon worship lands

For trips to Egypt and Canaan sands…


my favorite:

Noach’s Journey

Afloat on a boat on waves unending -

How do forty days adrift passing feel?

A galley so large for to feed the crew

and varied critters to protect their weal…

Wind howling, G-d scowling with barf bags near…

Was there faith with trust – or perhaps just fear?

I think I would prefer a space ark rather than the sea

With cryogenic chambers of the critters yet to be.

Concentrated food and drink packs to feed those not asleep

As we all wait out the storms for the waters to recede…



Isaiah told Israel to have trust,

That her numbers would grow to be greater

Than the nations yet to be dispossessed,

To be over-run by her then later,

Without embarrassment for her as loved

By HaShem who promised her no rebuke,

No more Mabuls – rather everlasting

Loyalty and friendship – Not just a fluke!

For 10/16...   Shabbat Shalom! Where should we go to get enrichment? At Beit Torah we we will discuss what we can obtain in our present circumstances:

Lech Lecha 5782 Searching; Bereishit 12:1-17:27; Isaiah 40:27-41:16

As was the intent of Tarach to go to Canaan,

So now Avram, Sarai, and Lot decide to move on

With strong encouragement from HaShem and gathered wealth.

With HaShem’s promise of much offspring to take the Land,

They travelled bit by bit in Canaan, Negba south,

With famine following as they travelled on the sand

Until they had no choice but to go to Egypt’s house…

Now Sarai was of such beauty, she knew she had to plot

A way to save Avram from Pharaoh’s lust, ever hot.

So with both together, a sister ploy plan was got!

Yet with Sarai in harem, Pharaoh’s household, the lot,

Made ill… Per Josephus, Lot revealed Sarai as wife!

So Pharaoh banished them with extra wealth and no strife…

The Negev was too crowded for both Avram’s and Lot’s

Considerable collected servants, wealth, and flocks.

So Lot: east to Zoar; Avram in Canaan did stay,

Praising HaShem in Hevron at an altar he prayed…

Being blessed again with many offspring, Promised Land

To be their forever home, by their numbers made grand.

Around where Lot settled there were five Kings in control.

Four other Kings invaded. All people and wealth they stole.

An escapee told Avram who with men rescued all,

Including Lot and his possessions, but took no gain…

Avram only asked that his men get their full booty share….

The Salem king blessed Avram for his courage and name -

HaShem blessed Avram with Land and offspring once again,

But warned of their long servitude in a foreign fare…

Sarai had no child. Hagar, her surrogate became.

Sarai was harsh with uppity Hagar who then fled

To be returned after promised her son’s future fame:

Ishmael, Father of twelve nations, the Holy said.

Avram with Sarai promised: parent many nations

If the covenant of circumcision they maintained.

Hence Avram circumcised all his household, self, and son

So that male offspring to Sarai could still be won.

With their new names newly changed: Avraham and Sarah,

Their lives newly arranged to meet their future stations...


The way HaShem works, to people it is rarely clear.

Young need to learn to follow and trust that wisdom’s way

That Israel is chosen and should no longer fear

For HaShem helps the Chosen who should trust all their days.

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat Shalom! How can we listen to and understand HaShem? At Beit Torah we we will discuss suggestions on how to do so:

VaYera 5782 Listening; Bereishit 18:1-22:24; II Kings 4:1-37

Near the terebinths of Mamre, some Hevron trees,

Came three strangers to Avraham in the day’s heat,

Messengers from HaShem come for Bikur Cholim

And to tell of what was yet to come, it seems.

Now hospitality reigns over pains of brit

With water, bread, milk, curds, and roasted meat complete.

Sarah would bear a son in a year it was said.

She heard and laughed in joy – at her age to be bred!

Plains of Sodom and Gomorrah to be wiped out

Twas told. Avraham bargained with HaShem – so bold!

Yet ten righteous men in those plains weren’t found about.

So HaShem prevailed to destroy those plains, their holds,

With brimstone which cremated Lot’s wife as they fled

With their two daughters to Zoar, messenger led…

Still Zoar was not quiet, might yet be destroyed…

Therefor Lot and his daughters were more than annoyed…

They went up the hills to a cave, food and wine stocked.

With no others near them, the girls feared they were locked

Into celibacy in a new world without men.

So they plied Lot with wine until pregnant with sons:

Moab and Ben-Ammi, who then later become

Moabites and Ammonites. For Folk, erstwhile friends.

In Gerar the sister-wife ploy was used once more.

With an infertile household, Abimelech King

Heard from HaShem of the plot in a vivid dream.

He paid Avraham his household health to restore

Since the dream said he had Prophet magic galore!

Sarah bore her son, Yitzchak, in less than a year -

With an eighth day Brit and upon weaning feast…

Ishmael could inherit, not her son, she feared.

Then to stop inheritance rights, Hagar was freed

While promised many nations her son would lead!

Avraham, Abimelech got along indeed.

So when there was a well dispute’s settlement need,

King Abimelech said Avraham dug that well.

As well marker was planted a tamarisk tree…

Now perhaps most perplexing during Yitzchak’s youth

Was Avraham’s taking him and wood up to pray

On a mountain with an altar but no goose…

Was Yitzchak rebellious? To be shown the way,

Avraham bound him on altar as if to say

Our HaShem will save you yet on this very day!

Lo! A ram tangled or tied in brambles was seen,

Then ‘twas used for sacrifice. Yitchak got off clean

With respect for HaShem reinforced in his mind,

Yitzchak, in shock, left alone, his own path to find…

Lastly the family line of Nahor is told

Listing Rifka and other cousins in the fold…


To Elisha, a widow her woes cried out:

In debt; destitute; facing slavery too…

So he said: gather vessels from all about

Which he caused to be filled with oil, brand new,

Til there was enough for all debts to be paid

And to live comfortably all of their days…

A Shunnamite gave Elisha a place to rest

And a room while bemoaning not having a son.

As promised by Elisha, next year she bore one

Who as a child did play in the hot fields and yet

Was stricken with heat exhaustion and seemed quite dead.

The Shunnamite hurried to Elisha in deep grief.

He quickly returned with her for the child to tend,

Reviving him mouth-to-mouth, body warmth to mend…

The child sneezed seven times to his mother’s relief!

Notes: 1- When Lot split from Avraham it was said he went towards Zoar however in this Parasha is when Zoar got its name!!!

2- As per earlier in Torah: The Dead Sea was formed [during the destruction of the Plains of Sodom and Gomorrah] from the Valley of Sidim.

Shabbat Shalom!

Our hearts go out to Afghans and the victims of Hurricane Ida and other disasters. Help if you can, please.

Shabbat Shalom! How can we value all folk equally? At Beit Torah we we will discuss whether we do or not, and how to improve as needed:

Chayei Sarah 5782 Valuing Women; Bereishit 23:1-25:18; I Kings 1:1-31

Now Sarah lived for one hundred twenty-seven years;

Died in Hevron. Yitzchak twenty-seven then would be,

A son with his own path; Ishmael almost forty:

Good life near Egypt another ninety-seven years…

So alone, Avraham, then bought a burial site

Near where he had settled, from a neighboring Hittite.

His Chief Servant a wife for Yitzchak would find, he swore,

From the Cousins in the northern city of Nahor…

Only to bring her back after bride price paid and more:

Gifts for the drooling family after she agreed.

So with ten camels laden with wealth he went to seek

A fair maiden who would care for himself and his beasts,

(Who gladly would leave her brother and his deep set greed.)

With Rifka in tow, he returned Negba to Yitzchak:

Grieving his Mom! Love at first sight! She would fill his nights!

Avraham was lonely, too. Wife Keturah he took

For six more sons who with gifts gone East

Towards Northern Arabia, Aramenian land.

So while inheriting all was his beloved Yitzchak

Who with brother Ishmael buried in fashion grand

Their Father with Mother Sarah when he aged and died

After a long life at one hundred seventy-five…


Old King David kept warm by Abishag virgin

Was a bit out of it on matters of the days.

So second son Adonijah, spoiled, claimed the throne.

Most folk did not support him nor his corrupt ways

Which threatened to murder all those who opposed him.

Hence the Prophet Nathan told Bat-Sheva all what to say

To David: ‘You promised Solomon to be King one day!’

Nathan on cue entered to warn of Adonijah’s scare,

So King David then declared Solomon to be his heir!

Shabbat Shalom!

Our hearts go out to Afghans and the victims of Hurricane Ida and other disasters. Help if you can, please.

post note:

It is not often that something annoying pops up in comments about the parashot.  However this past week someone posited the truly unsupported and pedophilic suggestion that Rivka was three years old when Yitzchak married her.  A three year old would not have been put in charge of the livestock feeding and watering.  Further it is hard to imagine a three year old riding a camel by herself, jumping off by herself, and making sexually aware actions and comments upon when seeing her intended.

In Talmudic discussions it is recognized that these abuses occur.  Hence the discussion was on how bride price is affected.  However there is at no time an approval of such abusive behaviour.  Nonetheless there have been ‘Rabbis’ who support such a horrific suggestion.  There have also been a number of ‘Rabbis’  who have been caught [and some even prosecuted] for pedophilia with 7-8 y.o. boys in yeshivot.

Typically when early age marriages were arranged, the girl child would be taken into the groom’s family but no marriage was consummated until after she started menses.  Even so, there have always been abuses by perverted men which often then later had to be addressed by the religious courts.

Shabbat Shalom! How can we mesh Jewish values with cultural norms? At Beit Torah we we will discuss whether we do or not, and which culture[s] we need to adopt:

Toldot 5782 To be a Hurrite; Bereishit 25:19-28:9; Malachi 1:1-27

Yitzchak grieved for thirteen years before Rivka came on the scene.

For twenty years more he begged HaShem to give him some offspring…

Twins took hold in Rivka’s womb. She asked HaShem to stop their fight.

HaShem promised her two mighty nations they would grow to be

With the older serving the younger, in future she would see.

Red Esau came first, then Yaacov holding his heel most tightly:

Red outdoor hunter to meet Dad’s palette with spiced meat just right;

Pensive Mama’s boy home-body, learning from all in his sight.

For Yaacov’s stew, hungry Esau, under oath, sold his birthright…

Famine made Gerar, Philistia, a welcome place to go.

Yitzchak did fear. So they tried another sister-wife show.

Yet Avimelech was wise to them, but understood fearful thoughts.

So he told all his countrymen: as to Yitzchak, your hands keep off!

Then Yitzchak settled near Gerar gaining herds and many folk,

But some Philistines were jealous and Avraham’s wells clogged up.

Avimelech was concerned, told Yitzchak it was no joke,

That he needed to leave town before skirmishes would erupt.

So to Wadi Gerar he moved, but was chased from two wells more

[Esek and Sitnah] until the third, Rehovot, was good score!

Yitzchak’s men dug a seventh well. Avimelech came to meet,

Along with his entourage, he sued for peace, a sworn Pact, Brit!

The well (Beer), called Sheva, gave water. Beer-Sheva the place was named.

Yehudit and Basmat, Hittite wives of Esau, were his shame…

With Yitzchak’s eyes failing, he asked Esau to hunt, cook some game

To be blessed… Rivka prepared Yaacov to go in his stead

With Esau’s clothes, kid skin arms, savory goat favorite stew…

Yaacov was blessed with all brothers as servants the Hurrite way…

Esau swore to kill his brother once his Father died. Enraged,

He caused his Mom fear. She sent Yaacov to Laban as he fled,

But told Yitzchak it was for him to find cousin wives to woo…

Esau, to please them, took Ishmael’s child, Machalot, to wed.

Malachi Haftorah:

It seems HaShem preferred Yaacov’s over Esau’s ways

As a “Father” deserves honor and reverence through all days.

So why scorned? Altars defiled? Cursed are all folk and Priests who stray!

Still the Levite Brit stands if they follow truth, lead none astray...

Shabbat Shalom!

blast from past:

Toldot 5781 ; Repeating; Bereishit 25:19-28:9; Malachai 1:1-2:7

Once again two brothers, sibs looking like day and night,

one righteous and caring, the other ready to fight.

Once again two paths of opposite extremes,

both leading to great nations by either means.

Was it a con on Yitzchak or a story to share

with neighbors whose bias was firstborn inherit there?

Yet Hurrite practice was to the most worthy must go

inheritance despite needing to flee in fright and woe!

Shabbat Shalom! How can we incorporate Jewish values into our families? At Beit Torah we we will discuss how best to do so:

Vayetzei 5782 Family Vagaries; Bereishit 28:10-32:3; Hosea 11:7-12:12 [Sephard]

On the way to Laban in Charan, Yaacov had a dream

About a passage up to HaShem, traffic going both ways.

Therein HaShem again promised land and numerous offspring

As promised before to Avraham and Yitzchak in their days -

Including saying that all other nations will bless their stand…

Yaacov bargained that if he returned home safely indeed,

He would embrace HaShem who there dwelt at Beth-El… thus vowed he!

Continuing eastward, Yaacov found folk near a well who

Pointed to Cousin Rachel and all her flock – and Laban knew…

So Yaacov moved the well stone and watered so her’s could share...

Then they went home to be welcomed by Laban: his sister’s son

To his home and for his daughters – a potential groom had come!

With deceit he charged fourteen years labor for both daughters fare…

With twelve children in tow, Yaacov wanted to go on home

But Laban convinced him to stay.

For six more years of labor with speckled, spotted, dark, and roan

Goats and sheep given as his pay.

Laban gave him a flock to tend with none of these color tones.

Yet Yaacov bred many claiming HaShem said to use rods

Carved with desired patterns to gain

Some speckled, spotted, dark studs for breeding colors of the same…

A good story for the soo ignorant Laban and his sons…

Facts say Yaacov’s careful observations likely were done.

Laban’s sons were jealous. For Yaacov ‘twas time to go home.

So while Laban was out shearing, on camels with flocks they flee…

On third day Laban chased – a week to overtake them it took

And to accuse them of sneaking away with an idol crook…

Yaacov trusted that there was nothing amiss to be seen.

He let Laban search, naive to realities of deceit…

Not so with Rachel who understood well her Father:

To restrain violence he surely would not bother.

She knew she needed to interrupt his decisions

By removing his counselors, idols of visions...

So that claims to property and children became moot;

So that in local court he could never win a suit.

Thus Jacob, Leah, Rachel showed family unity

With fourteen plus years resisting Laban’s impunities.

Still discord and fear of Father Laban, his offspring,

Who were ready to fight for all flocks, lands, and well springs -

Until a treaty was agreed to amid a feast,

With boundary markers set and servitude released!

Would Laban have agreed to such a complete defeat

Had HaShem not warned him to desist while in a dream?

So that place was called Gal-ed, later, Mitzpah’s the name…

Then HaShem’s folk met Yaacov near the Canaan border.

Mahanaim thence named to recall their return’s fame…

Sephardic Haftorah:

To give up on the unfaithful Folk, HaShem refused.

So the lands of Ephraim and Judah were beseeched

Repeatedly: return to HaShem, no Laws abused,

To avoid dishonesties, idolatries eschewed

Until forgiveness, repentance, and returns are reached…

The Ashkkenazi version ends on a more positive note:

Forgiveness, repentance and returns will be achieved.

Shabbat Shalom!

Our hearts go out to Afghans and the victims of Hurricane Ida and other disasters. Help if you can, please. May we honor our Veterans and their families by providing good counselling, good jobs, good family assistance as needed, good medical care, etc.!

Shabbat Shalom! How can we heal the divisions in our families? At Beit Torah we will discuss how we’ve tried:

Vayishlach 5782 Family ; Bereishit 32:4-36:43; Ovadia 1:1-21

Yaacov struggled with his pain

over fear of brotherly wrath.

One misstep done and he could go lame

or even lose sons along his path.

Then in fierce struggle with his inner pain,

Yaacov pulled his hip… Was it a sprain?

With whom he struggled, would not give his name -

Although Yaacov’s to Israel name was changed.

Hard to overcome family discord

as when broken sib trust must be restored:

Language is cautious, actions even more so

as family unity’s where they must go:

‘I now won’t step on yours, please do not step on mine.

If together we do so, we both should be fine.’

Yet even that path was still fraught with danger

When Dinah was raped by a Princely stranger.

Shimon and Levi killed all the Shechem men,

Vengeance for their sister’s rape – and then

They fled: midwife Devorah did die;

Rachel, bereft, in childbirth did cry:

“By my suffering I am killed.”

Jacob’s sorrow could not be stilled…

[But Son Reuven did not flee,

Clan leader he tried to be...]

Jacob buried Rachel on the way

to Father Yitzchak, where he could stay,

who lived one hundred eighty years we’ve heard:

By both Jacob and Esau was interred…

Both the twins went on to live long, fruitful lives.

Esau’s line in this parsha end is described...


Ovadia believed that revenge on Esau should be taken,

So he predicted a war with Edom was in the making

From which all Edomites would end up removed,

The Land would be possessed and judged, all idolatry destroyed

With return of morality, the Torah Law re-deployed...

Shabbat Shalom! Can we avoid family misbehaviours? Such we’ll discuss at Beit Torah:

VaYeishev 5782, Family Misbehaviours or Yad HaShem?; Bereishit 37-40; Amos 2:6 -3:8

Beloved Yosef grew up favored and spoiled

What with tattling on concubines’ offspring.

So of course they were jealous and quite roiled

When told of bowing to him in his dreams…

Yisrael sent Yosef to check on his bro’s

On a day they moved from Dothan to Shechem.

While plans to kill Yosef grew as hatred grows,

Brother Reuven said ‘no!’, ‘in a pit put him!’

Then they all sat to eat and talk about him

When Judah saw traders in a caravan

And said ‘sell him!’ to save him and change the plan…

Yet, tell Father with bloody coat that he was dead…

While traders to Egypt’s Potifar sold his head…

Potifar’s lustful wife tried for Yosef’s bod’

He refused. She lied that he had grabbed her, lewd…

Pharaoh’s guard took Yosef to jail where he grew

To be in charge of other inmates he knew.

So when they had weird odd dreams, they asked his view...

Told them true: baker dies, cupman’s job renewed

On Pharaoh’s birthday! ‘Yosef’ cupman forgot…

From Judah’s sons, Er and Onan, Tamar was widowed twice.

Third son Shelah was ‘too young’, so Tamar was told to wait.

Judah’s wife died. He cried, then went to Timnah for sheep to shear.

Tamar had upset friends who helped her plan how to be nice

To Judah along his way posing as a harlot dear.

His signet seal, staff and cord, he left as promise of pay…

But Tamar went on home. The harlot was not to be found.

Three months later, Tamar could be seen with child all around.

Burn her’ Judah said until stopped as Tamar spoke out loud:

This seal, staff and cord belong to the father in this case’

Judah thought and declared her most righteous, decree erased…

Come term were twins. Zerah’s hand first but Perez out ‘fore him.

Two babes for two dead mates… a twist of fair justice for them..

Great things are yet to occur for the house of Judah’s bairns.

From Judah’s sad losses were Israel’s glorious gains!

Said HaShem, as per Amos, there is a reason

You went down to Egypt and were brought out again.

Still, you have defiled our Brit in ev’ry season

For greed or lust, violating the pure for gain.

Yet I destroyed the Amorites, brought you to their site!

So now I will make your every move hollow

Until you let the Prophets speak and them follow.

Then, the purpose of my works and acts will come to light!

Hope , Chanukah 5782

We light Chanukah Candles for eight days.

Each day’s import differs from group to group.

Yet each is a value with need to fight

To repair the World with all of our might…

At times it looks hopeless when others do stray,

Preventing reaching essential goals this way…

Still perhaps these lights can brighten the loop

To avert disaster’s return to stay…

Chag Sameach’ we greet; candles we light

Embracing each other with Hope each night!

Shabbat Shalom! Are family intrigues harmful? It is a topic we’ll discuss at Beit Torah:

Shabbat Chanukah/ Miketz 5782; Family Intrigues; Bereishit 41-44:17; Zechariah 2:14-4:7

Today Chanukah comes with this week’s portion together

When famine occurs and the tribes need to decide whether

To starve slowly or take the trek and risk Egyptian wrath

Of the overseer of grains who so obscured their path.

First ask: How did he get there, this strange overseer guy?

He was in jail in charge of sleazeballs, murderers, and crooks.

He came to troubled Pharaoh’s attention and here’s the why:

Pharaoh’s dreams, advisers could not suss through their second looks!

Lo! The forgetful cupman got a swift memory boost.

He suddenly recalled Yosef and his odd weird dreams’ truths!

Thence Yosef divined Pharaoh’s dreams’ portents and response needs.

When Pharaoh a food store vizier of Yosef then did make,

He called him Zaphenath Paneah, sustainer of life;

He gave him On’s Poti-phar’s daughter, Asenath, as wife

(Was she Dinah’s daughter adopted as Poti-phar’s seed?);

And status and finery to wear, all he could take,

So that he could have two sons and a rich life

Safe from the famine and able to help others

Such as the Canaan strangers who in fact were his brothers.

Since Yosef could foresee the famine that was yet to be,

Pharaoh told him: Make some stores to last famine years and more.

Then when famine raged about, Josef’s bro’s came for food to seek

Not knowing their lost brother oversaw the food stock store…

Mixed emotions of anger, love and revenge engulfed him,

So at first Joe told no one of facing challenging kin.

Instead he barked at them to return only with their youngest.

Hence when famine raged harder Yehudah to Israel swore

To protect Binyamin when they took him to Egypt, west.

Yet Yosef, overcome, with his full sib’s time wanted more.

So he hid by Ben a double portion and his wine cup

To challenge his brothers to let Ben stay there, give him up...

Chanukah: who’s righteous and who’s the dreamer?

Who clings to the Holy? Who’s just a schemer?

Will we, like Hannah coerced by tyrants, give up our lives and dreams?

Or let those of some other faiths impose their dogma upon us?

Chanukah proclaims that stand to reject religious oppression.

Tikun Olam is preferred to sin of omission confession!

Yet do we heed the call to not hide, to dream and teach for freedom?

Or are we in shadows not seeing those Civil Rights? We need some…

We at Beit Torah pray for all parts of this country to be reunited. The benefits of reuniting and working together are shown in this week’s portion of Parashat VaYiggash:

VaYiggash 5782; Reunion; Bereishit 44:18-47:27; Ezekiel 37:15-28

The Royal wine cup’s in Ben’s bag. How can they pain stave?

Judah’s promise spurs him on to offer self as slave.

So Judah spoke to defend his Father

From his youngest son also being lost.

Yosef sobbed, overcome with emotion,

In private told them what treachery cost:

With Pharaoh’s blessing, Yosef administered all

As Yad HaShem to a family guided his path.

Soon he had respect, honor, finery and two sons

As well as the power to protect others at last:

Egyptian family able to save them!

So to bring Jacob back to Egypt they went

With wagons and gifts from the Pharaoh were sent.

Now Jacob at one hundred thirty years old

Was wizened, depressed, cranky and prone to vent.

Clearly Jacob was very feeble and cold

When “Yosef, your son, is alive!” he was told:

Serah sang a sweet song to him so that he truly would believe... (Did she?)...

Yosef is still alive” she said, “Go over to Egypt and you will see!”

So he packed up his flocks and folk to travel the trek to his long lost son,

To bless the Pharaoh before he died, knowing that safety now had been won.

En route at Beer Sheva he stopped to give sacrifices of gratitude.

There Hashem told him by divine hand they’ld return after an interlude...

It is said there were seventy tribe souls en route, but we need to recall

That not all of the women [wives and daughters] nor servants were counted at all!

When to Egypt Jacob finally arrived.

He happily wept that his Yosef was alive!

The brothers were told for Pharaoh to say

Their livelihoods were as livestock breeders.

Now those proud brothers followed their own way

And truthfully told Pharaoh: Shepherds are we;

In Goshen’s pastures for now let us stay

While our breeders do Pharaoh’s work by day.

Judah led them to Goshen to thrive and prosper.

Others, in famine, indentured themselves for food…

Some became serfs who paid fifth of produce for land,

A plan that worked quite well with the Pharaoh at hand.

Pharaoh was then enriched with flocks and food payments…

Until another Pharaoh came and changed the mood…


Ezekiel foresaw two family branches united,

Ephraim and Yehudah, two nations into one in peace,

With righteous governing under Laws of HaShem, purified,

An extension of the Davidic Dynasty, sanctified -

Or did he mean it’s the ethical Solomonic line’s lease?

We at Beit Torah pray for healing given recent traumatizing events. May we successfully meet the challenges posed as they did in this week’s portion of VaYechi:

VaYechi 5782; Descent into Oppression; Bereishit 47:28-50:26; 1 Kings 2:1-12

Now Ya-acov lived seventeen years more with family all around.

Although carried by others to and fro, his deep joy and peace were found.

As he got older, he longed for home, all those years he’d missed.

So to bury him with his folks, Yosef he made promise;

Then he adopted Yosef’s two sons, Joe’s double portion..

He gathered other sons to tell them their flaws and strengths.

Each gained a blessing o’er what they had done or not done

Before he rested and came to his long journey’s length:

Forty days to embalm, with no Egyptian blessing to preserve…

Thirty days of national mourning and then they went on their way,

An entourage to Canaan, leaving children and livestock behind,

Brought Egyptian dignitaries, Israel’s household and sons away

With Yosef’s household to bury their Patriarch without reserve -

The Peoples of both lands honored them well and to them were kind…

There were seven days of mourning held at the burial site…

Despite his brothers’ fears, Yosef forgave their earlier strife…

Yosef lived on to see three generations Ephraim’s spawn

And grandkids from his other son before ‘twas time to move on

Post-promise to be embalmed, returned with the tribes to Canaan...

Hence, too, another ending of one hundred and ten years of Yosef’s life,

Embalmed and in waiting to return home to Canaan with all of the tribes.

Kings haftorah:

King David on his death bed told Shlomo to be strong;

To follow all HaShem’s ways and the Laws all day long

In order to succeed as a wise Ruler and King.

Then pettiness grabbed David with last requests given:

Take revenge on physical and verbal violent;

Reward the loyal who helped out to go on living…

Then David expired after being King in Hevron

Seven years and thirty-three years, Yerushalayim!

Shabbat Shalom!

We at Beit Torah pray for all manner of blessings as we embark on a new Book of Torah:

Shemot 5782 ; The rise of a leader; Shemot [Exodus] 1:1-6:1;

Sephard: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3; Ashkenaz: Isaiah 27:6 - 28:13; 29:22 - 29:23

It is the Pesach story that starts the Book of Names,

Shemot, a saga with intrigue, harsh plagues, and games.

We start with the cruelty of a conquering Pharaoh

Enslaving some peoples unto hopelessness and woe,

Moaning and groaning under oppression e’re they go;

Decreeing death to newborn boys without a care – Oh

But for Shifra and Puah who refused to do so

By saying strong Hebrew women did not need their help

When a baby boy or girl by themselves they could whelp.

Then Yochevet’s baby in a closed cradle was placed

As Sis Miriam to the Princess swiftly did race.

From water did I pull you,” the Princess exclaimed.

As a result, henceforth, Moshe will be your name.”

When grown he saw an overseer vilely act.

He killed him. ‘Twas known to Hebrew Slaves as a fact,

Discovered when he stopped a Hebrew slaves’ fight with tact.

So he fled to Midian, to a Priest’s daughters was kind,

All seven as he sat by the well, shooed bullies away,

Watered flocks for the girls… They were home early that day...

Family friendship with Zipporah to wife he did find.

Soon a dear son came along for him to mind…

This story took off here when HaShem now did appear

In a burning bush that neither ashed nor disappeared!

HaShem did proclaim, “To Egypt you must go:

From Horeb to Pharaoh for desert prayers to plead

For all Hebrews with elders, wives, and children in tow -

Just as was given to other folk when such was their need.”

Moshe declined as unworthy and unable to speak,

Unable to give HaShem’s name, overall too weak…

Then HaShem said to say, “G!d of Patriarchs, Ehyeh,”

To the Israelite elders, “will liberate us! Yeah!”

A snake rod, a hand with white scales, dry land blood water

Are grand signs for in Pharaoh’s court to be seen and heard.”

Moshe’s protest: ‘I’m not worthy! ‘Twill be a slaughter!”

So let Aaron convince them with his eloquent words,”

Said HaSHem as he promised with their neighbors’ wealth

There later would be an exit at night in stealth…

So Moshe asked from Yitro, top Midian Priest, permission to go

While HaShem said, “Egyptian firstborn die if plea’s refused by Pharaoh.”

Some of this prediction Zipporah did hear

Hence for her Egyptian firstborn she clearly did fear.

So he would be a Hebrew, his small foreskin she took

To save his life when the Angel of Death came to look.

Yet when Moshe asked Pharaoh for wilderness prayers,

He and Aaron were laughed out of court, kicked down the stairs!

As life became harder with withdrawn straw for the bricks,

Hebrews could not meet quotas, could not use sticks…

Those Hebrews did curse them, causing them both such despair…

Still HaShem cautioned patience: “Moshe, we will get there!”

Sephardic Haftorah:

HaShem told Jeremiah: known before birth Prophet you’ll be.

Jeremiah then protested that he was unable to speak.

Hence HaShem in response reached out and touched the then young youth’s mouth

To let HaShem’s divine words flow forth from above and on deep

To predict disaster from idolatrous North for the South…

But Yerushalayim’s fortifications were able to hold

With the promise to give HaShem’s due by the faithful and bold…

Ashkenaz Haftorah:

Suffering in the past purged the sins away

So Israel can blossom,” Isaiah did say,

From a forsaken land to one filled with life.”

Still those people not in sync could find no grace,

No mercy to violators in that place.

Those drunkards with power were doomed soon to be lost.

As the dispersed gathered in, the strayed were the cost.

The House of Jacob stood tall, no longer shamed

For they all in awe did hallow HaShem’s name!

Handling pandemics and plagues are a present challenge to us in every generation. We at Beit Torah discuss the most up to date data available:

VaEra 5782 ; Handling Pandemic Plagues; Shemot [Exodus] 6:2-9:35; Ezekiel 28:15-29:21

Is Exodus two accounts made one in meld

Of plague times when some of Semites were expelled

And slave times of many backgrounds who rebelled?

No details were given last week in our preview.

So now we embark on this version number two…

HaShem promised Moshe soon there would be release

Even though the Hebrews firmly refused to believe

In eighty year old Moshe, for HaShem a groaner;

In the Patriarchs’ Brits with the Tetragram owner

To answer moans and deliver by unusual means

Possession of Canaan to folk without hope it seems...

Then Moshe, in fear, said he truly could not speak,

So HaShem spoke to Aaron, his spokesman to be.

Hence to prove his credentials: lineage revealed

[Though Miriam’s not mentioned as to Yocheved born].

Thus now with this info was his leadership sealed,

Moshe and Aaron returned to their task forlorn.

When going back to Pharaoh with his hardened heart,

Aaron’s snake rod swallowed the magicians’ - all parts.

Pharaoh still said ‘no’, your folk to pray can not go’ -

Despite other nations being allowed to do so!

Hence in the umbra of Thera, Egypt’s plagues did come

But lesser in Goshen, Thera’s penumbra, some plagues none…

Now blood was the first plague in water, wood, and stone

Since volcanic iron oxide paints all red roan;

Poisons the water so that fish die, rot and smell;

Lets uneaten tadpoles escape to land as well..

Now light volcanic ash is like lice on skin cooking;

Will kill food sources, so hungry insects come looking;

Will sicken the air so that all will feel ill until

The skin bubbles open as blisters or boils in pain

Only to be struck by fiery hail and again

Another plague since Pharaoh refused still…

Historical documentations by the Ipuwer papyri [circa 1600 BCE] support the occurrence of the biblical plagues and coincided with the first of the expulsions of Semites from Egypt and with the massive volcanic explosions of Thera that destroyed around half the island about 400 miles away from Egypt. This is consistent with the teachings of the Rambam, Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, and others that HaShem does not violate natural laws but uses them to cause what appears to us to be ‘miracles’.

Haftorah, Ezekiel:

Now when at first his prophecy did not occur,

In seventeen years Ezekiel tried once more

With adding that bounty to Babylon must go

From desolate Egypt and dispossessed Pharaoh.

Said around ten years post-Babylonian exile…

Then Israel gathered in to a secure land while

Despisers punished and HaShem reclaimed the Nile...

Shabbat Shalom!

Convincing the leaders of governments at all levels to ethically follow the facts with compassion seems nigh on impossible in times of extreme divisions. How to try to do so is the focus of Beit Torah this week:

Bo 5782; Convincing Pharaoh; Shemot (Exodus) 10:1-13:16; Jeremiah 46:13-28

Now there wasn’t much left to drink or eat

After the bugs and the boils and the beasts,

So when hungry locusts then swarmed the land

Almost naught for people remained but sand.

Even when locusts to marshes were blown,

Pharaoh continued refusing to yield.

So blind you are,” Aaron then told Pharaoh,

A darkness plague will make your blindness real.”

Volcanic debris in Thera’s umbra

Made particle filled air quite touchable.

Nine Ipuwer days or three from Torah,

Both caused asthma or fear, so palpable

That the people were more than ready to go

If only okayed by the cruel Pharaoh…

Alas, he said ‘no’, no flocks could go…

Hence from the neighbors riches to “borrow”-

Post-firstborn deaths. Folk fled on the morrow.

So momentous a moment, Sages say,

That we must remember each year this day

With signs on our hands, also between our eyes,

To recall Egyptian servitude cries

Which led to freedom for all who did heed:

Blood on Lintels, roast lamb on which to feed,

Burn all the leftovers, flee at dawn’s break

With unleavened bread of no time to bake.

Further, to HaShem our firstborn belong

Recalling that last plague of dark horror.

That we were set free becomes now our song

Recalled each year in matzah and maror,

With no leavening in all of the house,

With Exodus story told to kids and spouse…

Then, only circumcised allowed to eat

Though the Law upheld for all folk to meet...

The Death of the Firstborn can also be tied to the toxic deposits of the volcanic debris and ash. Since all food sources were destroyed save the tar covered warehouse pits, all Egypt would have used them. However first portions always went to the firstborn - and they would have been the most toxic if not deadly from absorbed volcanic output. This would have been most toxic in the heaviest umbra deposits. Goshen to the East was in the penumbra and had lighter effects from plagues. How they avoided tainted grain is not clear. What would you do to save your firstborn? - or would you try to save all the people?


Once more an Haftorah predicting Egypt’s fall.

Once more laid barren, wasteland, by Babylon’s hand…

So Jeremiah joined Ezekiel to call

For Israel to lay low while fights surround their Land...

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah wonder if we now have Amalekites to oppose:

Shabbat Shira, BeShallach 5782; Oppose Amalek; Shemot [Exodus] 13:17-17:16;

Judges 4:4 - 5:31 Ashkenaz; 5:1-31 Sephard

What does one do when one suddenly becomes free

Without any experience as to what can be?

Quite unlike Moshe who was years Egyptian raised,

Also lived in Midian for many of days,

Remembered to take Yosef’s bones along the way,

Not sure how long in the wilderness they would stay...

What did those Hebrews do when they too became free?

They groaned and bemoaned o’er what for them could not be…

In shock at Sukkot, weary travelers’ waystop,

They could not guess what ahead still would be their lot.

Along that cool, spring wadi, so wet and so green,

Not realizing what travelling east would mean:

Chased by Pharaoh’s chariots and quite loyal troops,

Once more they fled with their flocks in very large groups

Nearing irrigation canals’ northernmost lake.

Now given that on the northern garrison road

Locals and sea refugees were coming to blows,

To the Sea of Reeds was where they needed to go,

Area known to Moshe from jobs with Pharaoh:

Camped then near the mouth of canals, Pi-HaHirot,

At the edge of wilderness by the Sea of Reeds,

Facing Baal-Zephon [the Northern Ballah Lake]

Between Migdol [garrison tower] and the sea...

To control water sluicing some work it would take

After a night of intense smog where none could see...

At dawn a time of relatively dry land would be

For all flocks and folk to walk over to the other side

Until Moshe’s arm went down, signal to let waters ride

And cover the pursuing army now trapped in the muck.

Chariots and horses and men could not flee. They were stuck.

While Moshe and Miriam and all the people were very glad,

HaShem was a bit cross as death of horses and men is so sad.

Still they sang their joyous songs in gratitude to HaShem.

Moshe rejoiced that the people were delivered

While the Pharaoh’s host was buffetted and slivered

As they drowned in the rock filled flooding waters’ rush.

Both Moshe and Miriam to HaShem thanks gave.

Other nations of that time felt much terror such

That they feared Hashem for how HaShem freed the slaves.

Next Folk continued their long journey to the east:

Several wilderness days trek came to the brink

Of Marah bitter waters, dunked honeywood made them sweet;

Elim Oasis was water with no parasites to drink;

The Wilderness of Sin had no food and no meat;

Then given six days of Mannah [weekday leftovers stink],

With double portions on the sixth day; [Shabbat did now show

A day of rest, no gathering of wood or food you know!]

Tamarisk sap lice product sounds like the Mannah that fell

And there were occasional quail provided to eat as well...

At Meribah, Massah, Refidim, more water lack woes-

A smacked Horeb rock cracked to provide water flows;

Then just as they approached Arabia’s narrow pass,

Amalekites appeared, striking down weak and the old,

So Joshua’s unexpecting folk had to fight, alas:

In all ages we must oppose Amalek we’re told...

The use of ‘three days’ was not always meant to be specific but rather to indicate many days’ length of time. It also should be noted that the Nile River in Egypt, the major source of drinking water, was contaminated with several types of parasites. So the promise of no Egyptian illnesses was fulfilled by clean, parasite free water. The fulfilling of other promises is yet to come for the fleeing tribes have yet to learn what laws of HaShem they will need to uphold. Is keeping to the mitzvot a guarantee that we can hang onto freedom? If not, what else must we do? Amalekite tyrants and autocrats will be in every generation, challenging our freedoms and democracies. How best can we oppose them? Will we ever be safe from them – or must we always be on alert to fight? Are there now Amalekites we must fight?

Haftorah: Judges 4:4 - 5:31 Ashkenaz; 5:1-31 Sephard

Honored Devorah, prophetess; Lappidot’s wife;

Sought after Judge under her palm tree on a hill

Of Ephraim between Ramah and Beth-El;

Military leader; strategist to save lives;

Told Barak of Naphtali to gather some men

Ten K in all from Naphtali and Zevulun

To go on to Mount Tabor where he could snare then

Sisera’s troops and gear in Wadi Kishon

Where devious Devorah had plans to send them…

Barak said okay only if she too would show.

Then her spy told Sisera where Barak would go…

She went with him to slaughter the oncoming horde,

But Sisera fled to whom he thought was a friend…

Yael and Heber were Moshe’s kin, feared the Lord…

So Yael hid Sisera, gave him milk to sleep…

Then she drove a peg in his head and did not weep.

Barak, in pursuit, saw what good deed she had done.

He ended King Yavin’s reign. Forty years’ peace, won!

Devorah and Barak sang a song of great praise

For the reopening of travel and free trade,

With gratitude to HaShem and all those who helped:

Ephramites hailing from Amalek held city;

Machir and Zevulun officers; Binyamin;

Isachar for Devorah’s guard; and too some pity

For tribes who hesitated, on outskirts waited

As Sisera had bad weather, a Kishon flood

Which swept away many in the torrent of mud...

Meroz cursed as did not help. Yael was praised.

Sisera’s Mom dreamt of booty all her days,

Worried her son was late… No spoils! Just Peace slated!

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah wonder if we can get our Justice system to work without any effect from partisan politics...

Shabbat Yitro 5782; Justice; Shemot [Exodus] 18:1-20:23-;

Yeshayahu [Isaiah] 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6 Ashkenaz; 6:1-13 Sephard

Now journeying through desert sands is slow

When some people have kids and flocks in tow.

So Moshe sent his wife and sons ahead

To visit Grandfather Yitro’s instead.

So, too, to not be distracted from the refugee woes,

Moshe tried to do everything by himself, alone,

Which led to some intense burnout and severe overload.

Still Moshe did all needed tasks with not even a groan!

Near Arabia, Yitro came with Zipporah and sons,

At once evaluating what Moshe’s efforts had done.

This Midian Priest first made a meal to improve the mood

Of Moshe and all the tribe elders as his pitch ensued:

Moish can’t go on like this,” he said. “He’ll wear himself out.”

Delegate to several levels of judges and laws!”

Teach them how to do it themselves, what it is all about,

So that only the most major will come before his gaze,

Knowing that good, fairly done judgment did review each cause

And the People will decide for their own, have happier days.

Now the Judges you will choose must all be capable guys,

Fair minded, unbiased, rich so immune to bribes!”

Moshe’s People kept on their way while Yitro went on home.

Refidim to Mt. Sinai’s desert, from Egypt three moons.

Mt. Sinai’s South South East - ish of Midian in Arabia’s dunes,

A volcanic area with quakes, smoke, fire, and earth groans -

A place to rest with three days of purification tasks:

Do not touch the mountain nor your women; wash clothes;

Then listen to the words coming from behind the smoke cloud:

This is our covenant, ten terms to our Brit...

So said HaShem, “These covenant terms are ones you must meet”:

The only deity that you shall have must now be me!

No idols are allowed! By my name, no swearing falsely!

Keep the Sabbath day of rest with all livestock and folks -

Except wives are not on the list to not work for their blokes!

Honor your parents! No murder allowed! No adultery

With married women permitted! Stealing of spirits, souls,

Or the selves of others is forbidden! Dishonesty

In tales about neighbors also a very big no-no!

Yet was it only about neighbors or of any folk?

Just like don’t covet neighbors’ holdings – or others’ also?

The mountain of lightning, thick smoke, and thunder was so loud

The mountain trembled, horn blasts grew louder scaring the crowd.

Those very frightened People begged Moshe to intercede

So they themselves would not hear directly HaShem’s words.

Moshe did as they asked so HaSHem’s words only he heard:

Build now an earthen altar, for sacrifices to be blessed -

No idols thereon nor ever should be built anywhere…

So use then un-hewn stone for an altar without steps.

No lewd dancing, modesty in worship, joy should be there...”

Unlike other nations, no nudity nor idols would be part of sacrifices and worship. One wonders if the Solomonic era compiler added a nudity on steps ban after David danced twirling on the palace steps revealing his manhood to all [no underwear]… What part of our Brit covers nudity and modesty? Be safe!!!


The death of King Uzziah heartened Isaiah’s feeling

G!d protected Jerusalem while others were reeling:

Sitting on a Holy throne with skirt flowing Temple built,

Six-winged Seraphim in attendance, the Temple smoke filled…

With Isaiah standing there, a Seraph took a hot coal

To touch his two lips for purification of his soul

So that he could tell the People that the Law they must heed

Though only a tenth would survive as future Holy seeds...

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah wonder how laws can be used fairly in courts:

Shabbat Mishpatim 5782; Laws, Laws, Laws; Shemot [Exodus] 21-24:18 ;

Yirmiyahu 34:8-22 ; 33:25-6

What do all the terms of our Brit Covenant Contract mean?

Details of laws and compensations heretofore unseen?

Intentional murder or manslaughter: How can one tell?

Strangers, widows, orphans, the oppressed stand equal as well

Ere they on guilt, restitution, compensation decide…

Witnesses must tell the truth, avoiding rumours and lies.

The Judges must decide without bias, frivolous suits, or bribes;

Don’t threaten leaders nor defame Hashem to disagree.

Accept then their fair justice so all the Folk can be free...

A manslaughter sanctuary needs to be set aside.

Is anyone property? While known all we must respect,

Which are ‘rights’ and behaviours of “owners” must we select

To evaluate and review, to condone or reject?

Universal slave practice was acceptable back then,

Although some coerced remains, unfortunately, today.

For those most civilized demand slavery ban, they say,

Yet all generations have slaves for some. Ban will be when?

The souls and spirits of all folk we are told to protect:

NO abuse of parents nor employees tolerated;

NO kidnapping regardless of class or status stated;

NO cursing Judges for being fair; No interest lending to the poor

Of Israelites...[but what of non-Jews who suffer for sure

And may also be in mortal danger: unfed, un-shoed?];

NO evil tongue speech, lashon haRah; No kid boiled in milk; NO blood in food;

Found property must be returned; help struggling animals in distress;

Road kill and carrion are for the dogs; Do all the mitzvot to be blessed;

NO bestiality; sorcery jobs must be suppressed;

NO idols; NO magic; NO sacrifice to a false ‘god’;

While self-defense is okay, a revenge murder is not.

Seduction, coercion, rape are theft of bride price and soul.

Forced marriage is the repayment if Dad and Daughter agree.

If not, the cost is the bride price as she can’t be made whole.

Such payment is said reasoned: valued eye for eye you see,

Medical treatment and time lost considered, too, in the cost…

Courts knew to calculate payment if a fetus was lost…

Or if the woman was injured as well, there was a cost,

So payment was made to compensate the man not his wife;

Or from other injuries such as from a brawl or a fight;

Or if a servant by vicious owned animal does die:

First offense to pay? Repeated: for owner murder to try?

Fire starters, thieves of all kinds, animal borrowers pay

Restitution for their crimes as per what the Judge does say.

So too for compensating loose livestock damaged then caught…

Also for damaged fields or vines from neighbor’s flocks or fire

Found to be started by a known person’s desire…

As well as it’s true for livestock or folk injured from high risk

Open pits or uncovered, unblocked structure pieces and bits…

It is hard to determine when restitution is sought

For damage from wild beasts, loose animals, or missing thieves…

There is no-one found to sue, no hidden wealth to retrieve!

Do not express or say the ‘names’ of other ‘deities’.

Pray each day! To all these laws the Folk again did agree...

Observe Shabbat each seven days, shmita each seven years,

Post-seven shmitot: Jubilee! Males, first born, all for Priests!

First fruits and eight day old first born honest tithes must be true.

The People must learn to be decent to all, goy or Jew!

Celebrate three pilgrimage festivals every year

With prayers and sacrifices, observances and feasts.

HaShem will soften nations up bit by bit, drive them out…

Now seventy elders, Moish, and three Priests on sapphire floor

Made of blue lapis lazuli [?] in the Presence, we say,

Of HaShem up the mountain discussed the Law, feast, and more…

A pillar for each tribe’s sacrifice while they wait about

Forty days while Moshe went up the mountain for the Law.

Now how far up did Joshua ascend? Where did he stay?

Aaron and Hur would be top judges while Moshe’s away...

We’ll learn more as we read later what else they did and saw!

Stay tuned… Shabbat Shalom!


Jeremiah heard the slaves were to be freed

As King Zedekiah openly decreed

When Babylon threatened to invade his State.

Some people reneged after all had agreed.

HaShem was quite cross that they did violate

Their contract made passing through a dead calf’s halves.

So as punishment, Babylon would succeed.

Town inhabitants gone and one in ten folk

Plus all leaders taken, as per history…

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah wonder how we can adequately fund our religious institutions and social/ world needs:

Shabbat Terumah 5782; Institutional Funding; Shemot [Exodus] 25-27:19 ;

1 Kings 5:26-32; 6:1-13

The Tabernacle needed to be built to plan

From freewill gifts, whatever to give people can.

Priestly garb [ephod and breast pieces] to adorn

From the Holy of Holies to each altar’s horn…

The innermost sanctum contained the Ark of Law,

Acacia wood, pure gold overlaid in and out;

The edges covered with gold molding all about;

Ornamental with carrying poles covered in gold;

Built with gold cherubim either side of the top,

Their wide wings spread for shielding the cover we’re told.

Nearby was a table overlaid with pure gold,

With a trim of hand’s breadth covered in a gold mold

Along with four corner gold rings for stand to grasp.

This gold table was for accouterments to hold:

Show bread, spice holders, jars, ladles, bowls for the dough,

[The last three used in the preparation of bread]...

Jugs for drinks or with water for cleaning instead-

All of gold pure, best they could do [but not for bread!]

Seven lamps close by to light the Ark of the Law,

Each with six branches on a central four light stalk,

Three lights per branch – tongs and fire pans keep light going

When helped by hands for eternal time’s light showing.

At the inner room entrance an embroidered screen

Separated from the bronzed altar a space.

With bronzed carry poles, bronzed corner horns, bronzed means

Of basins for blood, scraper shovels for trash trace,

Flesh hooks turn offerings atop a bronze sieve grate

To drain the waste from each sacrificial estate.

All utensils were bronze from sockets to clasps...

Outermost structure’s, like others: acacia wood;

For a frame to hold twisted linen coverings

Embroidered with Cherubim: crimson, purple, and blue;

Held in bronze or silver sockets with golden loops

And rings and clasps, silver hooks and bands according

To plan with bronze pegs and four layers on the roof,

Overlapped eleven goats’ hair cloths inner tent,

Under tanned ram skin tent, dolphin skin waterproofed.

All the details of building given as they went.


Kings Solomon and Hiram of Tyre were good friends.

Twas sealed with a treaty and time together spent.

Sol was impressed with Hiram’s Tyre temple sell,

So he charged Adoniram with blueprints in hand

The huge task of pulling it all together well:

From draftees [each, three months of the year] for the work

Getting materials with which to build like sand,

Stone, gold, bronze and more during his fourth year of reign,

Four hundred eighty years since Egypt’s plagues’ fear,

In Ziv, the second month of the year - and again

HaShem told him: IF you follow terms of our Brit,

ALL the rules and laws, then HaShem will never leave

Nor forsake Children of Israel, e’er will be near...

Shabbat Shalom! Be safe!

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah wonder how our leaders can modestly and ethically promote honest ways to live our lives :

Shabbat Tetzaveh 5782; Appropriate Attire; Shemot [Exodus] 27:20-30:10;

Ezekiel 43:10 - 43:27

Sunset to dawn pure olive oil did light the Law

With lamps outside the curtain separating Ark

Law from the rest of the Tabernacle confines.

Aaron and sons did this task but must dress for all

With all linen attire adorned as needed, unlined:

Pouched breast cover, ephod, tunic, turban, and sash

With poncho beneath ephod, inscribed forehead plate,

Knee length shorts - or breeches if you prefer to say -

To cover sudden nude exposures. No oops flash!

A floor length tunic, woven and fringed, tied at sleeves

With embroidered sash and headdress complete the chic,

Though the forehead plate is only for the High Priest’s leave,

So, too, the breast pouch to the High Priest was unique.

Still, all the Priests were so colourfully adorned;

Vestments by dedicated, skilled labour were worn...

Two pieces were joined at ends for the ephod shoulders:

Engraved onyx shoulder buttons in gold holders,

Each with six Israelite tribes named in birth order

With wreaths of plaited gold chains all on embroidered

Fine twisted linen; yarns of gold, purple, scarlet, blue;

With a wide woven belt of the same colours too.

Two ply Urim/ Thummim pouch over High Priest’s heart

Within a bejewelled breast cover of four square parts:

Signet engraved for each tribe four rows of precious gems,

Per row three gold set gems; gold rings at shoulders and hems

Secured by blue threads – Breast pouch for Judgment calls’ sight

When Priest decides issues with Perfection and Light.

A sleeveless blue poncho under the ephod did rest,

The neck reinforced with a woven collar, no vest -

At hem, coloured balls alternated with golden bells.

These pomegranate shaped balls swung with the tinkling bells

As all his work the High Priest did without pause as well.

The turban had a front plate, signet-like inscribed:

HaShem’s Holy”; held with blue thread on forehead side;

To bear the Israelite sins and atone for them all

After Priests were consecrated to answer their call…

Priests were washed and dressed inside the Tabernacle tent

To be consecrated. This for seven days they went

With unleavened breads and sacrifices to share

Til they were ordained, saying: “HaShem’s dwelling there.”

Sacrifices made tents stink, a disrespect to the Law…

Built was a small, square ‘altar’ for incense burning, daily twice,

Next to the Holy of Holies’ veiled screen opening’s maw:

With gold moulding, gold rings for the golden carrying poles;

Save yearly re-consecrating blood, ‘twas used only with spice...

Sin offerings year’s atonement to be made for all souls!


Ezekiel heard HaShem describe the Temple design

To be shared with Israelites repentant over sins.

The sizes for the altar hearth with four horns, trench, rim,

Plus a ramp were given to rebuild the Temple just fine…

To be followed by blood purification and purge;

Then seven days of sacrifices, another purge;

So the Temple could open for business and gain

HaShem’s consideration… but when the time came

The second Temple followed a different design...

Shabbat Shalom! Be safe!

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how to pinpoint and avoid idolatry:

Shabbat Ki Tisa 5782; Eschewing False Deities; Shemot [Exodus] 30:11-34:35;

1 Kings 18:1-39 Ashkenaz; 20-39 Sephardi

A Mishkan Tabernacle we need to build,

But now, how can we pay the craftsmen so skilled?

A tax on each adult male for sins un-named

Claimed to ward off contagion, pandemic tamed!

For Priests’ hands and feet to wash at Mishkan’s door

Stood a bronzed washing bowl on the sandy floor…

An olive oil spice mix only for sacred use

To anoint the Mishkan and all therein, Priests too,

And an incense altar sprinkled with incense mix

Just for sacred use, none else. All this and more was fixed

By skilled Betzalel and Ohaliab, his aide,

Including Mishkan, all therein, sacred vestments made...

While Moshe was up The Mountain the Law to get,

The two stone tablets inscribed by HaShem, and yet

Lewd folk coerced Aaron an idol to make -

A gold covered calf idol! - and altar to take

For feasting and dancing, worship you bet!

Joshua part way up heard, told Moshe the fact…

Oops! Then HaShem wanted to destroy them all,

But Moshe stepped up, asking HaShem to recall

Promised Land to Avraham and the Brit Pact,

Hence stopping HaShem from such a violent act!

When to Moshe the extent of sins was found,

He hurled the Law tablets to break on the ground.

Three thousand idolaters Levites did slay;

Heavy metal water was forced drunk that day.

This water laden with gold calf ash caused then

A “plague” on all as punishment for sins when

Prayers to a gold idol were the mob’s goal…

A reminder to zealously guard each soul,

Modestly without finery and fine clothes!

Then HaShem’s Presence in a cloud at the Tent

[Which was House of Judgment, not for the Ark you see],

Cloud hovered when to give counsel Moshe went.

Yet Tablets were still needed in the Ark to be:

For forty days Moish carved Law, for all to see,

With no food nor drink and at HaShem’s back a peek;

HaShem promised to drive out locals from the Land

While not showing self to the Folk so they’d stay safe,

Led not by HaShem’s angel but by HaShem’s hand:

HaShem who promised righteous ten gens to be kind

But four gens punished for those who laws did not mind...

Upon Moish’s return, all idols were destroyed.

All idolaters then we had to avoid,

Not even marry into idolater line,

So we could be pure for the Pilgrimage Feasts,

For Firstborn to redeem, for Shabbat to keep.

Special rules for Pesach note no sacrifice leavened

Nor left all night – days of Matzah are seven;

First fruits are for HaShem at Shavuot time,

As are first born livestock promised to HaShem’s might;

Ingathering for Sukkot’s third feast at least…

To not be like the Pagan festival rites,

Never seethe a kid in its Mom’s milk [she’ll pine] -

But follow glowing Moshe to spirits’ heights,

Although veiled unless in talk with Folk day or night!

Haftorah, Sephardi:

Jezebel, who tried to kill HaShem’s Prophets, missed

Elijah who was out and about on his own…

Now three years of severe Samarian famine

Left no food stuffs or weeds able to grow.

So to get some rain, HaShem had Elijah go

To Ahab, Jezebel’s King, to set up to plead,

With sacrifices, to various deities…

Meanwhile Ahab and Obadiah sought drink for steeds.

[Obadiah was house servant supplying all needs.]

Elijah found Obadiah, gave him a nod

Approving how a hundred prophets he had saved!

Obadiah called him trouble. E. did not agree,

Saying that trouble was widespread idolatry! -

And told him: to Ahab, he should Elijah lead…

He did. So with all Folk gathered it was set up:

Two bulls to sacrifice without any fire

By, for idols, some eight hundred fifty ‘prophets’

And by Elijah who drenched his bull quarters’ bits…

Yet the ‘prophets’ failed while Elijah’s flamed higher…

Alkaline metal? Used in water explodes!

Hence HaShem’s the only ONE, so Elijah showed!

Shabbat Shalom! Be safe!

Feb, 26, 2022: Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how to care for community needs...

Shabbat Shekalim, Parashat VaYakhel 5782; Modern Tabernacles; Shemot [Exodus] 35:1-38:20;

 II Kings 11:17-12:17 Sephard; 12:1-17 Ashkenaz

Now the People assembled upon Moshe’s call.

Then they were told they needed to give their all

In donations of property, skills, and time

To build the Tabernacle to be very fine…

Freely they gave enough for the Mishkan and more

Until stopping - ‘Twas no room for excess to store!

Yet their skills were still needed, men and women both.

So the best of their talents came forth – none was loathe.

There was one, so dedicated, who oversaw all

Following the plan given in his recent past.

Based on his experience, Bezalel did call

On craft mistresses and masters to fill his Cast.

Then with them he addressed all the various needs;

With Ohaliab, organized that Cast to heed

Making altars for burnt incense or offerings;

Coloured linens, cherub designed as ark cover,

With the outer linen edges of wool loops, blue;

Seven golden lamps, of purest gold that they could;

An embroidered screen door; planks of acacia wood;

The show bread table and accouterments therefor;

Most Important the Ark and cherub cover! More:

Tanned skins of ram over the goat hair tent were laid

Covered by dolphin skin above. Mishkan parts made

Along with an embroidered screen enclosure gate;

Enclosure of bronze, silver, linen hangings, wood -

Mishkan and enclosure parts were then done, but wait:

If you truly want more details, go look and read

Descriptions in Parashat Terumah and score!

Half shekel head tax for all the men

Gave a complete census count and then

We carry it over to today

Where our shekels go to help us stay

With healthy shuls and helping the poor,

With gelt for HaAretz, and maybe more...

Haftorah Shekalim:

In the seventh year of Yehu came a small King,

Just seven years old, Yehoash, Zibiah’s son

Who followed HaShem as per Yehoiada, his Priest

And told his Priests to get funds for Temple repair.

Yet twenty three years later, no repairs were there!

Yehoash was cross, told the Priests to forego funds

[except for purifying and guilt offerings]

And use the monies, honest repairmen to pay.

Yehoiada took charge to make repairs that way…

So this shekalim reading reminds us today

To support our shuls, give charity away:

Half shekels for Israel, the poor, those led astray…

Shabbat Shalom! Be safe!

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how to pay for community needs...

Shabbat Pekudei 5782; Costs of Materialism and Charity; Shemot 38:21-40:38;

I Kings 7:40-50 Sephard; 7:51-8:21 Ashkenaz

Itamar oversaw Mishkan ledger records.

This ben Aaron tracked costs of Judah’s Bezalel

And Ohaliab of Dan who led the craft work;

As carver, designer, embroiderer excelled.

This Egyptian style ledger gave metals’ account:

Gold worked in Egyptian style, copper and bronze use;

For Priestly garments, materials and jewels

Recorded and described as Tetzaveh recounts.

It is said: collectors, honest, to show revealed,

Had no long sleeves nor pockets for monies to steal.

The Tent of Meeting needed to be done as should

With women attendants’ help, as much as they could,

Whose bronze mirrors made the washing bowl and wash stand

And who at the Tent with vestments could lend a hand…

Moshe blessed dedicated efforts and skilled tasks,

Instructed them on how to put it together.

The Tabernacle parts were cleaned and anointed.

Then Moshe saw that all tasks were performed to plan.

[Midrash] he blessed: G!d should rest on works of their hands!

Then Priests were washed, dressed, anointed as appointed.

Moshe could consult HaShem at entrance tether...

Breastplate justice and ephod worship as should be:

Together they displayed Israel unity.

Burnt incense and offerings, grain offered at last…

Shkina’s cloud filled Mishkan regardless of weather

Until Israelite journeys would need to resume.

When encamped were HaShem’s cloud by day, fire by night,

Two visible reminders that HaShem was nigh!

Sephardic Haftorah:

For Shlomo, King Hiram had copper maven work

By Hiram of Naphtali for blood sprinkling bowls,

Scrapers and lavers; two columns with crowning globes

Under two nets with pomegranates in two rows,

Each network of two hundred, one hundred per row;

Ten stands, ten lavers; one tank, twelve ‘oxen’ below;

Unweighed pails, scrapers, sprinkling bowls from earthen molds’

Bronze castings. Shlomo furnished all alloys of gold

For the incense altar, lamp stands, display bread table;

Five lamps to left, five to the right before gold shrine;

Petals, lamps, tongs, basins, snuffers, fire pans, ladles,

Blood receiving sprinkling bowls and hinged sockets able

To hold the Holy of Holies’ innermost doors

As well as for doors of the House’s Great Hall line.

All these items in gold as pure as they could score.

Shabbat Shalom! Be safe!

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah share our thoughts on how to expiate and celebrate:

Shabbat Zachor, Parashat VaYikra 5782; Today’s Sacrifices and Offerings;

VaYikra 1:1-5:26; I Samuel 15:1-34 [sephard and...] or [some ashkenaz]- 15:2-34

VaYikra, Leviticus, the handbook for the Priests to study

Tells how to expiate or celebrate when learned with a buddy…

Details are given on how sacrifices were to be well prepared:

No blood nor fat from organs nor any entrails were to be used;

Frankincensed fried, boiled or baked grain without leaven - part for Priests’ use;

For offerings of celebration, atonement, or gratitude.

Expiation was given for the sins and guilt of those who cared

But criminals gave no offerings unless compelled by the Court.

Maybe repayments were required although full forgiveness came up short…

How to prepare offerings specific to each reason was told

(Such as refusing to witness, contact with nidah* or death,

For well being, prayers for peace, words of thanks, betrayal of trust,

For blasphemous oaths, reparations after repayment as must.

While Priests were taught words to celebrate or expiate with each breath.

Considered about sins was whether to fault there was intent;

Or whether it be to defraud, rob, or illegally take;

Whether it was individual sin or a community bent

On unethical practices for their gross selfishness to slake…

It is said all leaders cannot avoid sinning and must atone.

Forgiveness, atonement, whether as a group or being alone -

Hasidim says Gates of Heaven are closed to those who do not heed...

Sages such as Rambam or Abravanel said we do not feed

HaShem* sacrifices. So not to confuse folk, they are no more.

Rather, with prayers and good deeds, HaShem we honor and adore!

How can we separate the historical from the practical for use today?

*Nidah- impurity such as from a woman’s menses

HaShem – the Holy One, literally: the [Holy] Name; Shmuel = Samuel

Shabbat Shalom! Be safe!


Shmuel* cautioned Saul HaShem’s commands to follow

For revenge war to wipe out Amalek’s city:

To kill all people, camels, asses, without pity,

As well as oxen and sheep by sword or arrow…

Two hundred ten K troops in siege of that city

Allowed Kenites to flee unharmed, evacuate…

Yet not all were killed. King Agog was kept alive

As were the best of livestock and high valued things…

HaShem was cross, regretted Saul’s royal estate

Since he failed to follow orders. Shmuel said “wait”.

Shmuel sought, by Saul’s monument to self, Saul King

At Carmel, but he was not there. Then to Gilgal, down,’

To tell King Saul that he did not deserve the crown

Given mission failure. Saul tried to justify…

Obedience is worth more than burnt sacrifice,”

Said Shmuel. King Saul begged forgiveness, grovelled low,

Gave Agog to Shmuel who cut him down in twain…

Then Shmuel left the disgraced King for Ramah

While King Saul went on home to Gibeah in shame...

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how to expiate and celebrate this week of Purim:

Shabbat Tzav 5782; Rituals and Devotions;

VaYikra 6:1-8:36; Jeremiah 7:21-8:3, 9{22-23

Yitro told Moshe: ”Delegate”. That then was done

By giving the Priests all the spiritual tasks,

By anointing them with a seven day cleanse, won

With little suffering so that they then could bask

In the sweet adoration of the People’s trust

That all what Priests did would lift their spirits as must -

By the Priests in special vestments conducting all

As per commands from Moshe they all must recall...

Moshe consecrated accouterments and tools,

The tabernacle and altars as per the rules

Until Priests, washed, dressed, anointed, duties could do

Or later anointed Kings these duties could do too!

With more rules for Priests who are no more

To handle the People’s guilt and thanks;

To feed Moshe and Priests evermore

No organ fat, only breasts and shanks.

Tzav’s portion describing sacrifice rituals

Includes reference to a perpetual fire

Along with what can be used as Priests’ victuals

As well as offerings [burnt; of unleavened grain],

For elevation, gratitude, ordination,

Well being, purification, reparation;

No carrion ever to eat despite desire…

All ashes to be removed outside the camp’s plain…

Does altar fire all night in the heart of the camp

Mean such intense fire lit in our hearts will be stamped

There forever? So if blood on clothing is spilled,

We boil out impurities; cleanse our hearts as willed.

Now a person anointed, a Moshiach makes -

Hence a Messiah of regular human form…

Never a Moshiach was ever meant to take

On being a supernal redeemer reborn!


Prophet Jeremiah claimed with him HaShem spoke

That upon leaving Egypt there was no command

To do sacrifices; just to observe the Laws,

Follow them was the need: Mitzvot to be done and

Call out Folk who don’t listen but do their own thing,

Being very stiff-necked and much less civilized…

Yet even when you tell them, listen they will not.

They will seal their own fates and lose their promised lots.

So shave and lament those who have not realized

They’ve angered HaShem with Baal worship embraced…

Hence with death and ruin HaShem will silence them all.

In wrath their bones will be scattered and banished wide.

Folk in their riches, strength, or wisdom should take no pride,

But devote themselves to HaShem who’ll recall

To prefer to act with kind equity worldwide

And delight in Justice with Kindness to be chased...


Bittersweet Purim Joy 5782

Amalek’s head has reared on up again...

We’d hoped its influence had now waned…

So though we baked Purim yummy treats,

Our view of this world is bittersweet.

Still the Megillah in full we read,

Share our foods with poor, community,

And friends. When Pesach knocks on our door,

All can attend Seder and yet more:

Eat Matzah, no leaven, mitzvot heed!

So Very Happy Purim to all,

May every Amalekite fall!


adapted from 5779:

                     Purim reminds us Amalek must go.

Yet how do we catch them and where must they go?

Now Amalek is Putin tolling evil.

Who are tools under his spell? Who’s truly evil?

Still we go forward with faith and in hope.

We will stop Amalek; we can make him go!


Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how to overcome impurities and imperfections:

Shabbat Parah, Parashat Shemini 5782; Making Impure Pure?;

VaYikra 9:1-11:47; Ezekiel 36:16-38, some Sephardim stop with 33 or 36

Impurities, impunities, sincerity, immunities

All pertain now to this week’s readings

Of sincere heeding or not heedings…

Moshe taught Aaron how offerings must be done.

The unblemished offerings, burnt ones or grain ones

Are to purify the People, sins wiped away.

In Tent’s heavy smoke, by Shechinah, guilt assuaged…

Aaron was to teach all processes to his sons,

But Nadav and Abihu, heady with power and drink,

Did not follow those ways when they entered the Holy rink.

A strange fire flash-over left their tunics untouched

Burning alcohol and anointing oils with such

Ferocity that Moshe decreed: no loose hair,

No torn clothes, no drinks, no oils, face the ark when there!

Then Aaron’s cousins pulled bodies outside camp grounds

By their unburnt tunics. Grief among the Folk found

Mourning outside where Aaron and sons stayed in Tent

Entrance with no death rites, letting the Folk lament…

Touching death makes all impure, need to wash away

That impurity… Then wait, see if all’s okay...

Sons Elazar and Ithamar ate burnt sin offerings

That Dad Aaron wrongly had done. Hence he was inferring

That the tragic fire was punishment for his not heeding.

Then more laws did follow on what foods we could be eating,

How to tell if a critter was kosher to eat:

Fins and scales; cloven hooves; no predators; - replete

With locusts and grasshoppers and crickets as added treats…

Later revoked as identities weren’t recalled complete.

No impure intake allowed, like carrion meat.

It is said: Hence impure words from mouth do retreat...

So stories this week have impure impunities to suss.

Sincerity did not prevent consequences. Discuss!


As per Ezekiel: The Folk defiled the Land

With blood impurities. So they were sent away,

Dispersed, and punished. Nations saw HaShem disgraced -

So they perceived. G!d’s reputation to restore

Needed Land purified, People returned once more

With caring hearts, new spirits, compassionate stands

Dwelling there, living by mitzvot, rules and the Law

To bring fertility to the harvests, fruits, and Folk;

And kept in line by the shame of past sins recalled.

Thereby the Nations did know: HaShem is no joke!

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how now to achieve purification?

Shabbat HaChodesh, Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Parashat Tazria 5782 ; Purification in Blood; VaYikra 12:1-13:59; Yehezkel Ch. 45: 18 -25; 46:1-15 Sephardim; Ashkenazim and Dvorah 45: 16-25 ; 46: 1-18

If it looks off, call Cohanim Priests

For priestly triage with some quarantines.

It may be fungal, allergic, or yeasts

On skin, on clothes, or inside stones unseen…

If it looks wrong presume contagion risk

That must be quarantined until proven not.

For people: bathing and purifying mix

After shaving hair off, tainted clothes thrown out;

By the Tent of Meeting, blood and incense sprinkle

(Yuk! Gross!) to ‘purify’ every wrinkle…

If purification does not work well

And symptoms do not clear, the Priest will tell

The afflicted to live outside the camp

With torn clothes, shaved head, crying out “impure”,

Mouth cover [upper lip down], so secure...

Now discharges make both genders impure they said

Even if natural upon the sex bed.

By the Talmudic times though men were excused

From needing to bathe after every act.

Yet for natural women’s monthly discharge:

Quarantine then bathing was the needed track…

What of childbirth and the blood therefrom?

Quarantine Mother until the brit for boys

Or even longer when a girl babe was born

Who can’t carry on the name? Or brings less joy?

Or do Mom’s hormonal changes differ some?

Unnatural discharges made all impure.

Hence all involved seven days respite received

Followed by washing the bedding and people

Returning to life’s activities relieved,

Til the next discharge starts the cycle once more.

Wash tainted fabrics, then see: if improved

Post seven day wait, bad section removed

While rest okay. If not, burn the thing whole!

Completely burn if taint spreading too,

But if totally clean, re-wash and use!

Thus fabrics used were pure to save the soul…

Haftorah HaChodesh:

So Ezekiel said: Offerings given

To Israel’s ‘Leader’ at appointed times

With Nissan welcomed, first month of the year,

Sanctuary was purified just fine

Of unintentional violations

And ignorant impurities therein

To help prepare for Pesach’s mid-month’s feast

For the seven days of bread without yeast

But with offerings and feasting stations.

[Just like our kashered Pesach homes are blessed?]

So, too, for the seven feast days of Booths

Starting the seventh month on the fifteenth day…

Now when the “Prince” to offerings did go

For Rosh Chodesh and Holy Days of rest,

Only open was the gate facing east

From the inner Temple court [work days closed]…

At entrance of that gate other Folk prayed …

To enter, these Folk on fixed occasions,

As did all, went in by north or south gates

And then they left by the opposite way…

Yet ‘Leader’ used the east facing gate

For his personal offerings, we hear…

The ‘Leader’s gifts, to reduce corruption,

Were only just from his own possessions,

In effect for all until Release Year

Except as inheritance for his sons.

Dispossessing others just was not done!

Shabbat Shalom!

April 9, 2022

Shabbat Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how now to achieve accountability?

Shabbat HaGadol, Parashat Metzora 5782 ; Accountability and Judgement; VaYikra 14:1-15:33; Malachi 3:4-24

This week we continue last week’s lurid account

Of purification of eruptions and taints:

Skin afflictions outside camp had weekly recount

By Priests as to whether must those outcasts remain

Or, to return, could do purifying eight days

With giving offerings; clothes and folk to bathe...

Then too impoverished could be given a break

With needing less to offer before they could stay…

For all types of discharge, detailed purifying rites

Are given in this Metzora Torah reading:

For semen, blood, or impure discharges that might

Touch bedding, clothes, folk; causing all to be needing

Bathing and washing. Plus to make pure all contact

With a tainted house: wash all - but pottery cracked!

For those structures with blight, rot, mildew, or mold:

Quarantine seven days, like people, we’re told.

After cleaning out the places of wrong hue,

If rot returns, structures are demolished too.

If not, the place must be splashed with mix

Of blood, incense, and so on to complete the fix.

Now if in a such closed structure folk slept or ate,

Impure are they and their clothes, must be washed, first rate!

Hence Mishkan’s prevented from becoming impure

As quarantined and unwashed do not near for sure!

Haftorah HaGadol

Since some say [e.g. Mishnah]: Redemption will show

On Pesach in the future, so they Malachi chose

For accountability, Shabbat HaGadol…

He said: cursed are those giving offerings impure

With a fraudulent heart. To account they must go

Upon the time of Redemption for sullying

HaShem’s reputation. They’ve ability though

To be arrogant, unpunished, and happy now...

On Judgment Day they'll be the wicked trampled low;

While the honest, reverent and righteous will earn

Pest-free, fertile, prosperous fields, vines and folk

Remembered for all generations as good, pure,

Vindicated, and blessed when Elijah re-shows!

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat Pesach Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how can we achieve freedom for all peoples?

Shabbat Pesach I 5782 ;

So many unanswered questions abound.

So few of answers are coming around.

How can we get the plague under control?

How can we return Ukraine to be whole?

How can Judges be impartial and fair?

Can violence be eschewed everywhere?

Still some survived the Torah plagues of yore,

Achieving freedoms they had not before.

We now recall that joy, yearly embraced,

And resolve to constantly fight for all,

To have freedoms and democracies call

Met with strong courage, all challenges faced...

So presently we wish all Peoples well,

Hoping they will hear the story we tell

Celebrating our Feast of Freedom's joy

And praying for Peace for each girl and boy!

Torah Day 1

Now the Torah picks for Pesach start with Moshe detailing

Procedures to be observed upon entering the Land.

Then the People did so, recalling Angel of Death's hand

In Death of Firstborn crown prince [and other Folk's lives failing]

Followed by Folk and all theirs out of Egypt being sent

By a grieving Pharaoh whose mind could wobble and be bent...

Hence the People left with unrisen bread and "borrowed" wealth

[Perhaps the neighbors gave them plunder to insure their health?]

Quickly they left, with speed, at the end of the Hyksos reign,

Some two hundred years plus in Egypt 'til this expulsion

When Pharaoh Kamose invaded with chariots and war -

[Given chauvinistic, patriarchal revulsion

Removed the evidence of the female Pharaohs as well...]

But that Torah Folk went from Ramses to Sukkot is the story we tell,

Which describes when the remaining Folk were expelled once more

After four hundred years plus of Egypt's harshening chores...

We close this reading with a Pesach reminder to eat,

Only with circumcised men, the Paschal offering meat

And that Torah is for all Folk and strangers equally!

Maftir for both days:

The Maftir leading to Haftorah of Pesach first days

Says the first and last days of Pesach are Holy rest days!

Haftorah Day 1

Joshua took over the task as leader of the Folk,

Needing to be exalted by HaSHem just as Moshe was too.

Hence a divine herald stopped him over by Jericho,

Said, so Josh told: "Remove sandals. On Holy ground bow low!"

Upon entering the Promised Land there were tasks to do:

All People came in following the Ark, a new world to greet;

For all males after the exodus born: circumcision

With Gilgal healing wiping away taints from Egypt's time -

Or perhaps instead it was from a clear Hyksos defeat

With expulsion of multitudes... historic revision?

Then it was the season to observe Passover, drink wine,

Eat unleavened bread made from the Promised Land's new wheat grain,

And at the same time, upon entry, no more manna came!

Chag Pesach Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!

Pesach Day 2 -Torah

The second day Torah pick recalls how it was deemed right

That the eight day old lamb offered was all eaten at night;

That the Folk agreed to observe the Laws such as not to

Profane the Holy Name and observe all Holy Days, too,

At the appointed times: Shabbat; Pesach; and Shavuot;

Days of Assembly, Remembrance, Atonement and Sukkot -

Pesach first and seventh day of no work, rest with Matzot

Of the new wheat harvest; from day two count fifty days

To arrive at Shavuot offerings, burnt and sheaf waves

For a Day of Assembly after barley grain gleanings;

For the poor and proselytes allow field corners' leavings.

Shofar blasts herald Day of Remembrance rest... work? no way!

Self-denial for Atonement, no work a full day!

Shabbat Shabbaton, Yom HaKippurim: observe or die!

Next comes Sukkot, no work first and Assembly eighth days,

With lulav and etrog, willow and myrtle - them we shake;

With Assembly offerings, vows, and free-will gift bequests;

In celebration of where's Israel after Egypt left:

In Sukkot dwelled well with sacrifices and good living kept...

Maftir for both days:

The Maftir leading to Haftorah of Pesach first days

Says the first and last days of Pesach are Holy rest days!

Pesach Day 2 - Haftorah

To teach the People, King Josiah read the Brit out loud

So that all could hear, learn to observe the rules...

Then as per High Priest Hilkiah, he told the Priestly crowd

To cleanse all idolatrous objects from the Temple too...

They were burnt outside Jerusalem, the Holy City...

Then he suppressed the idolatrous priests without pity

As well as male prostitutes, necromancers, and the like

Such as mediums and fetishes... their shrines destroyed...

All Pesach rituals and offerings were re-deployed.

He was King most close to HaShem, in the Brit took delight...

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Shabbat Pesach II Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how can we bring peace to the world?

Torah, day 7 Exodus 13:17-15:26 ; Numbers 28:19-25

Now each seventh year remission of debts for the poor

Expected to default yet still given loans before…

Further release of indentured servants if they want

So all released plus the poor can get a new start…

Compassion’s the lesson for generations to flaunt…

We’re told the first born are consecrated to the Priests.

Yet the imperfect firstlings can be eaten by all

BUT all the blood must be removed en toto, recall!

No repeat mention is made of the Pidyon HaBen…

Of importance it is said to celebrate all Feasts:

With Pascal sacrifice done at the appointed place,

Eaten up all at night while Folk go home the next day...

Pascal offering, seven unleavened days, and then

The Feast of Weeks and of Booths the whole household rejoices

At pilgrimage times with Feast special rites until when:

Sephard unblemished offered; Ashkenaz other choices…

Now free will contributions as afforded can be

Are given to support Levites and community

So that the whole household with fatherless could rejoice -

So, too, with widows, strangers, whole communities...

Also all these Folk at the Feast of Booths seek reward

After the Fall harvest was gathered, processed, and stored...

Hence it was incumbent on men, each his gift to bring

To attend all three Pilgrimage Festivals and sing!

The maftir details those Pesach offerings then used

Followed by the seventh matzah day with all work refused...

Haftorah, 7th day; 2 Shmuel 22:1 - 22:51

As reported by Samuel, here is a David's song:

To HaShem he composed the words in gratitude and praise

For being rescued from many kinds of calamities;

For being a lamp lighting up the darkness of his days;

For giving much courage to meet insurmountable woes;

For shielding from deep grief; allowing success against foes;

For vindicating the anointed one, graciously dealt

With his offspring's future... expressing all the praise he felt...

Torah, 8th day - Deut. 15:1-16:17 ; Numbers 28

What does one do when one suddenly becomes free

Without any experience as to what can be?

Quite unlike Moshe who was years Egyptian raised,

Also lived in Midian for many of days,

Remembered to take Yosef’s bones along the way,

Not sure how long in the wilderness they would stay...

What did those Hebrews do when they too became free?

They groaned and bemoaned o’er what for them could not be…

In shock at Sukkot, weary travelers’ waystop,

They could not guess what ahead still would be their lot.

Along that cool, spring wadi, so wet and so green,

Not realizing what travelling east would mean:

Chased by Pharaoh’s chariots and quite loyal troops,

Once more they fled with their flocks in very large groups

While following a fire by night and a smoke cloud by day

Nearing irrigation canals’ northernmost lake.

Now given that on the northern garrison road

Locals and sea refugees were coming to blows,

Since fearing the Folk might get discouraged and turn back, so

To the Sea of Reeds was where they needed to go,

Area known to Moshe from jobs with Pharaoh:

Camped then near the mouth of canals, Pi-HaHirot,

At the edge of wilderness by the Sea of Reeds,

Facing Baal-Zephon [the Northern Ballah Lake]

Between Migdol [garrison tower] and the sea...

With the fire and cloud behind them so Egyptians can't see...

To control water sluicing some work it would take

After a night of intense smog where none could see...

At dawn a time of relatively dry land would be

For all flocks and folk to walk over to the other side

Until Moshe’s arm went down, signal to let waters ride

And cover the pursuing army now trapped in the muck.

Chariots and horses and men could not flee. They were stuck.

While Moshe and Miriam and all the people were very glad,

HaShem was a bit cross as death of horses and men is so sad.

Still they sang their joyous songs in gratitude to HaShem.

Moshe rejoiced that the people were delivered

While the Pharaoh’s host was buffetted and slivered

As they drowned in the rock filled flooding waters’ rush.

Both Moshe and Miriam to HaShem thanks gave.

Other nations of that time felt much terror such

That they feared Hashem for how HaShem freed the slaves.

Next Folk continued their long journey to the east:

Several wilderness days trek came to the brink

Of Marah bitter waters, dunked honeywood made them sweet;

With HaShem's promise: no Egyptian diseases they'll meet...

The maftir details those Pesach offerings then used

Followed by the seventh matzah day with all work refused...

Haftorah, 8th day; Yeshayahu 10:32 - 10:34 ; 11:1 - 11:16 ; 12:1 - 12:6

After the Assyrians fell, a prediction was made

By Isaiah: at some future point will come up one day

A wise leader from Jesse to then lead all away

From violence and hatred unto Peace with all creatures,

Conquering all conquerors, stopping all bigots' features...

All this with HaShem giving protection, comfort, and care;

Bringing confidence, deliverance, triumph ev'rywhere...

In this triumph HaShem is exalted, lauded, and praised

By all living joyfully, contented throughout their days!

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Shabbat Acharei Mot Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how can we heal given so much continuing death and destruction in the world?

Shabbat Acharei Mot 5782 Heal; VaYikra 16:1-20:27; Ezekiel 22:1-16 or19 [Seph. v. Ashk.]

In Torah, the do’s and don’ts we often find

If only we bother to open our minds…

First was told how to stay well safe to the Priests

Focussed on the High Priest to the ark’s approach

With a week of cleansing, linen garments cleaned,

To atone for sins: first his, then all others.

To remind us of Aaron’s wrongly burnt feast

Of the sin offering? Or for all brothers?

On the tenth day of the seventh month, Tishrei,

For all Peoples is the Spirit’s New Year’s Day…

Incense burnt for gossip, slander, sins unseen;

Blood pure ark in incense cloud for sin goat’s roast

Atones for Priest’s sins. Sins of folk on second goat

Sent to the wilderness to disperse our sins…

Only Mishkan’s offering of two goats wins

As sacrifices elsewhere were banned we note.

When all tasks were done, Folk must bathe to be clean.

The Laws said clearly to us all: Blood don’t eat;

NO carrion; NO mutilated nor live!

If you touch the dead, impure ‘til eve, then bathe.

NO blood sports; NO practices of Canaanites

Nor of Egyptians; NO idolatrous ways;

Sacrifice only if proper way you meet;

Don’t violate Torah 'xcept for folk to save

From idolatry or killing with intent,

Adultery, incest… though your life be spent…

NO close relative sex (marriage included).

Such inbreeding leads to few and sickly kids

Who don’t mature to marry and make more yids…

Sex acts with animals also excluded...

NO child sacrifice, NO sodomy we’re told.

Don't defile the Land with acts our Laws abhor,

Acts done by heathens before in times of yore.

Follow these Laws for to HaShem’s path to pave,

Surrounded by good folk, other Laws embraced.


Ezekiel heard from HaSHem, or so he said,

Telling him Jerusalem's impure from blood shed;

From violations of ethical behaviour,

Idolatrous ways lacking Holy Days' flavor;

Terrified by violent gangs and crime bosses

With sexual and other conduct indecent...

So forgotten were ways of HaShem, huge losses

Earning cross punishment from HaShem, most recent

Being scattered Folk as ill-gotten wealth no more;

Land's dishonored, scorned as by other Nations seen...

Although People are dross scum, refined they can be;

To Jerusalem purified, returned, restored.

This past Shabbat Acharei Mot heralded today's Rosh Chodesh, the new month of Iyar. The associated Haftorah is a moving story of the deep love between Yonatan and David in which Yonatan risked his own life to save David from the insane jealousy of his father, Shaul, as I try to relate here:

1 Samuel 20:18-42

Saul seemed jealous of David and ever so more nuts

That his son, Yonatan, helped his friend David to flee

On Rosh Chodesh and for three days covering his butt

Until Yoni would come shooting three arrows he could see

With words of 'coast being clear' or 'imminent danger'.

On the second eve out, Saul asked where David could be.

Yoni said he allowed Dave to Beit Lechem a leave.

Saul blew up at Yoni, yelled: choosing David brought shame

To him and to Yoni's rebellious, perverse Mother!

Shaul threw a spear at his son, threatening to kill

Yoni and David who were much closer than brothers.

Yoni fled, humiliated, knew what to do still:

So he shot three arrows to warn David of danger.

Then when they were left alone there without any stranger,

They wept on each other, they kissed, and then made a pact

Of Peace for themselves and their kids to shun hateful acts

With caring, respect, love - honor for eternity!

[May 7]

Shabbat Kedoshim Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how can we find justice given so much continuing death and destruction in the world?

Shabbat Kedoshim 5782 Honesty; VaYikra 19:1-20:27; Amos 9:7-15;

Don’t be a scoundrel in Torah, a shrewd con

Who can’t be prosecuted on worldly shores;

Deference to elderly; revere Dad and Mom;

Have honest property claims and pay all wages

With accurate measures and accounting pages;

Be Holy! Keep Shabbat! Leave gleanings for poor

Whom we should help (so they won’t steal) even more.

If no left gleanings, are we by greed stealing?

If we then defraud with dishonest dealings,

Is it stealing as robbers of others’ rights?

Do not act on omens. Blood, never to eat!

But tree fruit, fifth year or later, are your treat!

Watch our tongues to not profane the Holy Name;

NO vengeance nor grudge; NO species mixes;

NO pimping; NO self-mutilation fixes;

No idols; Keep kids from idolatrous ways;

Eat only proper sacrifices all days;

NO shaving like Egyptians; NO séance acts;

Nor soothsaying, divination days or nights;

Don’t abuse others who are disabled – PAUSE,

And think it could be you, too, with just the same…

Or you could be blind, unaware of the laws…

Best reaching blind judgments with using just facts…

Do not adopt non-Torah ways of others in the Land.

For if you do misbehave, you’ll have naught on which to stand.

Punishments of old no longer are in use:

Death to oracles, mediums, raped betrothed

Sex partners if investigation says so;

Or for forbidden sex: shunned, barren, or shamed...

Such may now appear in subtle ways, obtuse.

Yet payment for sex with marriage promised slave

Was practiced, then of old but not now in use…

Proselytes all welcomed should be, if behaved.

To keep the Land, all these Laws we must follow,

Else our prayers to Hashem will be hollow.

To reap the promised blessings that ours could be,

We must love each other and justice seek…

Haftorah, Amos

All children of the world are the children of G!d

Who sees Israel and all other nations

As wayward offspring who must be punished hard

With sinful kingdoms destroyed. Then with patience

The righteous will be gathered in to Holy Town

To rebuild the Mishkan and reclaim the Land,

To bring forth good produce of all crops at hand,

Ever settled thereafter in the jewelled crown...

Shabbat Emor Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how can we find ethical leaders to guide us through the continuing death and destruction in the world?

Shabbat Emor 5782 Priests; VaYikra [Leviticus] 21:1-24:23; Ezekiel 44:15-31

Is each Levite and Cohain just like us all?

Or do they have some special duties and rights?

This Cohanim’s handbook part limits its call

To Priests striving to be in the Holy Light:

They don't self-mutilate nor wear goyim hair,

Nor marry a whore or brother's widow share...

If physically deformed can't do service there

Even if they are not visibly impaired.

Such was the disabled Priests’ leadership ban

Causing rejection of a disabled man…

It is a dilemma for us all today:

Defining who’s disabled we need to say…

Yet during war time drafts some young boys were maimed

So the Russian draft would not take them away.

For close relatives burial touch is got

When they pass, though for a married sister not

Unless a childless divorced or widowed lass…

Then Rabbinic law added rites for a wife,

But High Priest must not mourn nor touch death for life!

Not one pagan mourning rite can be done.

Yet a touch of death makes Priests not pure

Until end of day – then water cleansed and splashed…

Or if from eruption or discharge impure,

Eight days wait, recheck until wash need is won.

So virgin marriage was the restriction then,

(Cohain widows later added as okay.)

Else sons grown up to be Priests can not so be.

The High Priest was restricted even more when

Marriage just to virgin Kohenet decreed,

Else a grown son could never be a High Priest.

And... We don’t burn up Kohenet whores today!

Without a Temple, sacred foods matter not.

So, too, physical offerings are forgot.

Yet the times to celebrate remain with us:

A weekly Shabbat of rest, no work, no fuss;

Chag Pesach the fourteenth; Chag Matzot next day

(With start of Omer count) for seven days long

With the last day of rest as Omer counts on;

Until Shavuot is reached with gleaning left

So all could rejoice and none left food bereft;

Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot in Fall

Welcomed by shofar blasts, self-denials all;

Followed by festive booth living for a week

Shaking etrog, lulav: willow, myrtle, palm;

Closed by an assembly day for all to speak

Of the joys and success in post-harvest calm.

Such are the set sacred times for Holy Days!

Mishkan Menorah lit evening to morn

Became the eternal lighting of our Law.

The twelve Shabbat loaves with frankincense adorned

Now are two for our table without any flaw.

None now know HaShem's name, so no blaspheme danger.

Blasphemer stoned dead is no longer in use.

Saadia said ‘eye for eye’ means pay for abuse.

Be it beast or man, restitution’s needed.

Yet too, for each murderer, death is meted.

Such is the Law be they citizen or stranger!

Haftorah, Ezakiel

To Solomon, Zadok HaKohain was loyal.

So when Yisrael went astray, it seemed to be

That Zadokites needed to care for the Royals

Plus fully restore and tend to the Temple See -

Thus this, as Ezekiel said, was Hashem's need...

Then in suitable linen garb they will be dressed,

Following the hair care rules; not drunk when at work;

Married just to virgins or widows of Priests blessed...

They will act as Judges to meet challenges' tests:

Of whether or not pure, laws broken, or just quirks...

Holy Days and Laws they will preserve and teach.

Holy work's their portion with offerings to eat

Of only specific kinds: purification;

Guilt; grain - and first fruits - no carrion or dead meat!

They must not touch the dead unless they are brother,

Unmarried sister, offspring, father or mother.

If so, seven days to purify for work,

Returned to Temple to help lead the Nation...

Lag B'Omer 5782

With many fire restrictions everywhere

The widespread chag campfires just are not there.

So Lag B'Omer must get a new face

With barbecues and songs we can embrace.

Shabbat B'Har Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask how can we ethically treat the world and our fellow folk so that all will have their basic needs met?

Shabbat B'Har 5782 Preserving the Earth and all its Denizens Ethically;

VaYikra [Leviticus] 25:1-27:34; Jeremiah 32:6-27

Seven years until Shmita leaving lands untilled

To reverse nutrient depletion, health losses refilled.

Yet maintaining for health: vines and trees could be hewed!

To prepare for Shmita, store three years worth of food

Collected to last until ninth year's harvest's through.

Help kinfolk survive Shmita if you're well to do...

Seven by seven years then led to Jubilee.

Let all be redeemed at the time of Jubilee

Or by given tasks to work off what's due...

T’was often never followed unfortunately.

All was to be re-balanced, out of poverty to be.

Poor and rich made equal, clear at least in theory,

For a fresh, clean start, energized and not weary.

Foreclosures to be reversed, so too servitude…

For all is HaShem’s, hence no folk owning, just lease.

Servants are just temps until Jubilee release.

'Though only the servants serving HaShem are true...

Yet some renegged on contracts saying what would be:

Refusing to return servants, lands, properties.

Despite equal Jubilee food uncertainties

Somehow the rich stayed rich, the poor poor were not pleased,

And the Priests had their hands filled with Spiritual disease!

Care for all to keep Shabbat sans idolatry...

Threats, promised rewards in the next parsha will be!

Haftorah, Jeremiah

When foreign Chaldeans ruled over the Promised Land,

Jeremiah said Hashem told him to redeem

His cousin, Hanamel, in the prison yard's stand

By buying up in Binyamin Anathoth land.

With witnesses in the compound's yard it seemed

The time with Baruch, his aide, to finish the deed

And place the documents to be safe in a jar sealed.

Then Jeremiah thanked HaShem for kindness revealed

In success of this transaction and children's weal

For many generations - and the gift of Land -

While guilty faced punishment of folk and offspring,

Plus are blamed for the later failed country's downswing...

Shabbat B'Chukotai Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask what the impacts and consequences of our actions can be?

Shabbat B'Chukotai 5782 Impacts and Consequences of our Actions;

VaYikra [Leviticus] 26:3-27:34-; Jeremiah 16:19-17:14

If you truly embrace HaShem and do behave

You will be able to live life free, not a slave.

Peace, rain, and crops – fertile life all around

In people, in flocks, and throughout the ground.

With the working Mishkan within the Land,

The One who saved us Folk from Egypt's hand

Will always be there, and everywhere...

Yet if you misbehave, all will be lost: your battles fought,

Wars, illnesses, barren fields, wild beast attacks, famine, drought,

Despair unto cannibalism, destroyed cult sites and folk,

National identity lost, towns ruined, no fuel to coke…

Destroyed by their sworn enemies with People's pain unheard,

The Folk will be scattered far and wide around the world...

When in the Land unfaithful are no more,

The Land will be revived, rebuilt, restored

By those who survived in great grief then taught

To return to the Law for which we have fought:

Mitzvot and Land to abundance returned

By good living and righteousness not spurned...

Still HaShem welcomes vows of repentance – T’shuva -

So people are valued as to costs of their vows

From one month old babe up, save for offspring first born.

Male and female alike offered vows of values Priests formed.

For tithes taxes and vows on holdings, flocks or land,

The Priests assessed the values according to plan:

Values per life sixty years down to one month old

Were written, but Priests could change them if hardship told...

We all finish now this murky handbook for Priests.

Gone on to desert stories as this book does cease!

Chazak! Chazak! V’Nitchazek!

Haftorah, Jeremiah

Jeremiah was heartily hoping

That HaShem his refuge always would be...

That Nation's generations were doping

With making gods, falsehoods; then controlling

With smoke and myths, magic and make-believe...

Needing their eyes opened, so hearts could see

That to HaSHem, go they all must to thrive...

Judah was filled with guilt, hardened on hearts

And on their altars among hills and trees.

Hence then G!d's wrath should dispossess their lives...

In people's strength just did they give their trusts

With a barren existence for their pain...

The wealthy through fraud should penury gain,

Shame and doom for forsaking G!d's ways...

Yet those who trust in HaShem are like trees

Just in fair weather along waterways;

Always bountiful and fruitful each day;

A respite like Jeremiah did say

Was his: glory and healing to be saved...

Shabbat B'Midbar Shalom! We at Beit Torah ask what expectations should we have of our leaders?

Shabbat B'Midbar 5782; Leaders, Protectors, Obligations, Responsibilities;

BaMidbar 1:1-4:20; Hosea 2:1-22

Why ‘Numbers’ when ‘in the desert’ the Hebrew says

For this next Book of Torah we now embrace?

Perhaps since it starts with many a census counts:

Of elected tribal Chiefs (for just dealings – a fount);

Of draft aged men; of one month old males and older;

Of all Levites en toto and by each clan’s case -

Not once but twice to assign tasks each must shoulder

Ages thirty to fifty, light tasks for older base

When post-fifty wisdom is the skill used best:

How to dismantle and assemble Mishkan parts;

How to organize the camp, all facing the ark,

By each unit of each tribe at Moshe’s behest.

In charge of Priestly functions were Aaron and sons

For some of tasks needed they were the only ones!

If elef is one thousand, the census seems wrong.

Yet if elef is a unit of six or five,

The numbers to camp for forty years and survive

Are reasonable in a desert clime to belong.

Since Reuven’s misbehaviours it possibly seemed

That the Levites were viewed like first born by HaShem…

Hence first born sons for the Priests could then be redeemed

At five shekels a head by the Pidyon HaBen.

Haftorah, Hosea

Of a spiritual desert Hosea wrote

In our Haftorah portion for this week’s readings.

By temptations refused, the Exodus recalled,

Our bond with HaShem restored by Mitzvot heeding.

How then was it a spiritual desert place?

The chasing of wealth and gods did goodness erase,

Bounty from G!d misused in unethical pursuits,

Like a 'wife' engaged in harlotry gave G!d the boot...

Israel's the wife, mother to be rebuked

Until enticed to return to the Law once more

So that full bounty and mitzvot can be restored

Without harlots, idolatry, hate emoted -

So that a Brit of safety's made with the devoted

To HaShem's Laws and Mitzvot so as to become

HaShem's "my people", a Nation acting as one!

Shavuot Chaos 82

The Feast of Weeks has come amid such chaos

From War in the East to massacres in schools.

With the covid still raging throughout the world,

It's as if People no longer follow rules

Of common decency, respect for others,

Accepting we all are sisters and brothers...

No Peace can we reach in this Shavuot time.

Study and Prayers just can not tow the line...

Shabbat Nasso Shalom! We at Beit Torah will discuss corruption and promises, gifts vs bribes.

Shabbat Nasso 5782; Vows, Priestly Duties, Nazarites, Gifts vs. Bribes;

BaMidbar 4:21-7:89; Judges 13:2 -13:25

Now we learn more of how Levites special were made:

Merarites stood to protect Mishkan contents all

Which were sacred to HaShem and the Tribes it’s said;

Gershonites transported Mishkan parts without falls;

Kohathites maintained the Tent of Meeting quite well

While each clan performed its tasks, too many to tell…

With the Mishkan fully anointed and all therein,

With appointed duties to different Levite clans,

Daily offerings each by another Chieftain,

Twelve came to dedicate the Altar as per plan.

Above the Ark of the Pact in the Meeting Tent

Moshe spoke with, heard from HaShem when there he went.

One said to be impure outside the camp was placed

While those who had stolen were then given a break

At a hundred twenty percent repayment take,

Not two hundred... [ Was it guilty conscience based?]-

Yet since perishable gifts to named Priests were okay,

One wonders: were there bribes to limit costs that day?

Communal non-perishable gifts to coffers saved

Allowed Mishkan functioning in every case

Such as for women accused of being unchaste,

Then given floor dirt and cursed ink flavored water

To cause childlessness if an unfaithful daughter,

But not death, just shaming, from the cursed bitter ink

Or bitterness when falsely accused one might think…

Yet no consequence for a false accuser was made…

[Paranoid misogynistic men on parade?]

Now the Nazarite vows were not taken lightly,

Required no takes of grapes or ferments in any form,

No hair cuts, no nearing the dead. So was the norm.

If someone present died, vows restarted once more

After seven days impure shaved rightly,

With purifying rites for spirit to restore.

Speaking of Nazarites, it’s good to know

That the Haftorah for this week, as Judges goes,

Is of the birth of Samson with his Mother’s vows

Of no grapes nor ferments nor wines nor nearing death

To finally have a child to raise with each breath,

Nazarite child to suppress Philistines somehow,

A male child who grew to be by HaShem quite blessed

Like our portion ending with three Priest blessings blessed...

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat BeHa-alotecha Shalom! We at Beit Torah will discuss families, justice, calamities, desert foods and Priestly tasks...

Shabbat BeHa-aotecha 5782; Judges, Priestly Duties, Calamities and Desert foods

BaMidbar 8:1-12-16; Zechariah 2:14-4:7

How to make lamp stands from hammered gold alloy plate

Opens our parasha portion to light the way

To another revealed version of Yitro’s name,

One more account of Mishkan purification

Restating Levite’s special first born-like station

As purified attendants to Aaron and Sons

So by Cohanim no menial work was done...

Plus Israelite sons [but not from flocks] can regain

Family status when redeemed with shekels pay.

Now Yitro, Hobab, and Reuel are Zipporah’s line

As named Midian Priest, High Priest, Grandpa or Dad.

The confusing bit may stem from multi-sourced tales

Of the same events of history, yours and mine,

Just like Mount Sinai and Mount Horeb, both HaShem’s pad,

The Holy abode, source of our Brit, whence Mitzvot hale!

Also at odds are male head counts and job ages

Whereas before, Levites started work at thirty.

Now twenty-five, a larger workforce was made...

The old were only guards, no hands getting dirty…

Still as before, post-fifty we may find sages.

So elef’s unit, not a thousand as today,

Said unit likely comprised of five or six guys

Totalled a count where all could find work if they tried.

Herein is told: The Tent of Meeting’s outside camp

Unlike the central Mishkan, Shechinah’s cloud…

So when travel was needed, trumpet blasts were loud

With given signals to guide the gathering crowd

Following the high Mishkan cloud along their tramp.

Did Pa Hobab agree to be the People’s guide?

(Different blast sounds were used for wartime too!)

(Such horn blasts were used too to herald special days

Of Festivals and Rosh Chodesh BaAretz stays…

If one missed a Seder, in a month could re-do.)

Elef count's seen, too, when telling of longing for meat -

Three K plus kin [not six hundred K plus] to feed

Is easier with dropping quail for a month of meals,

So free dropping birds were at quite a price, a steal!

Were they low on oxygen, energy or air?

Did a toxin overcome them? hot fumes? or death fare?

As uncooked or uncured, with raw meat: Death was there…

Was bdellium colored Mannah a better stew?

Coriander seed and cream taste kept folk alive.

We are told the camp outskirts suffered a blaze

Of perhaps a lightning strike or man made mishap…

If Tent of Meeting was located at Taberah those days,

Then a first seventy elders in meeting trapped,

Perished- all lost – So Moshe tried to fill the gap;

Overwhelmed, suicidal, exhausted, despaired;

Told to gather another seventy; aware

Of their honest efforts to fairly judge with care

Along with Eldad and Medad, prophets spirit-filled,

In the camp among the people as HaShem willed.

Or was this version of how seventy gathered

An otherly sourced tale of how judging mattered?

His siblings hazed Moshe about his Cushite wife.

So Miriam’s stress caused her scaly skin so white;

Gave her seven days quarantine for skin to heal;

Then on to Paran with no further word revealed...

Shabbat Shalom!

Haftorah, Zechariah

According to Zechariah, HaShem promised to dwell

Amongst the Chosen - Jerusalem first chosen as well...

As if in a dream, Zechariah claimed to see

Joshua, the High Priest, standing in tattered clothes

Before the Holy Judge, Prosecutor on right.

The Prosecutor by the Judge rebuked sternly,

Told his attendants to dress Josh in Priestly Robes

As a guiltless servant crowned with diadem light,

Promising to be faithful to HaShem's Laws all nights

With reward to tend to HaShem, lead righteous Priests,

As marked on a seven eyed, engraved stone decree

That one day, all sit together in shade of fig trees...

Zach thought he woke up, asked by the Angelic Judge:

What, at that point, was it he was able to see?

He then saw a golden lamp stand beneath a bowl;

Seven lamps below pipes; each side an olive tree;

A mountain mined level by Zerubavel's path

Producing beautiful, excellent, building stones

For the Temple with Priest vestments and crown made whole...

Then the angel asked: "Prophet! What does it all mean?"

To Zerubavel HaShem said: Not by my might,

Nor by my power, but by my Spirit alone...


Shabbat Shlach lecha Shalom! We at Beit Torah will discuss the dangers of mis/dis-information and propaganda...

Shlach Lecha 5782 Combatting Mob Mentality and Violence; Numbers 13-15; Joshua 2:1-24

Now twelve scouts were chosen, one from each tribe.

They were sent to check out the Promised Land.

They returned with a plump grapes bunch in hand

And a good report of milk and honey

Flowing throughout, with right rainfall, sunny.

Yet for to conquer they felt a bad vibe

Of being very weak and them far too small

To take over the Land, to take it all.

This fear, this vibe, they gossiped, widely spread,

Til frenzied folk wanted dissenters dead.

Caleb and Joshua were barely saved

When Shechina in Meeting Tent was seen

Telling Moshe he had to intervene

To stop the mob violence the People craved.

How frightening for him it had to be

When ‘good’ folk into monsters he could see.

More so for Joshua’s and Caleb’s sight…

Repeated over in our history:

Kristallnacht, Tulsa, the Native homes wiped

Out by lies, hatred, myths, and bigotry.

While the Scouts brought back a plague somewhat new,

Killing more than ten mob leaders, at least,

The People were told it is time to go

Tween the inland valley Amalekites

By the Sea of Reeds near the Canaanites

(This reed sea is not the Exodus one,

But near a gulf somewhat more to the east.)

Still rebuked folk tried invasion re-do,

But without HaShem’s backing, failed, were done…

Their efforts left them with just deaths to show...

With the People HaShem then was not fine,

Threatening to send plagues and disown them -

Moshe pled for forbearance one more time,

Not wanting to sire a nation chosen

To follow the Brit without mobs nor gripes…

So from his begging came a compromise:

Save for Caleb and Josh, adults perished

Before the People could enter the Land

Where future generations could then stand

Compliant with Laws, with their Land cherished.

Now Moshe saw mob violence People made

So he feared becoming the next victim.

He was upset with politicking lies

After hoping at least some would realize

That mobs don’t follow Mitzvot. They stray.

So though told cut off* defiant sinners,

All the mob stoned the gatherer whose sin

Was Shabbat wood pick up. Hence no winners.

Not even one refrained from his stoning -

Was just such one what Moshe was hoping?**

Was the man senile? With one sick at home?

Context and intent were unchecked, unknown.

In wake of this so disappointing act,

Folk were told to always recall the fact

That Mitzvot must be followed all the time

So wearing Tzitzits*** now was to remind

Them all to observe and investigate

Violations. The Punishment can wait.

Was the act unknowing or with intent?

Was it defiant - or not - the way it went?

By the by, a sacrifice list given

Told what to do post-forty years living

In the desert, then entering the Land

Where all peoples there had one Law as planned.

Residents, citizens, and strangers, all,

Were to have same rituals, rules, and Laws…

Haftorah, Joshua

Now Caleb and Joshua were good spies.

So, too, Jericho’s Rahab helped two scouts;

Protecting both by hiding them with lies;

Helping them escape when they went about.

Now harlot was Rahab or prostitute

Or inn keeper, clear headed and astute,

Converted for community. Thus saved

And redeemed to have a future well paved

With rewards gained for her work it is told

With family safety and growing old

In marriage with Joshua, leader bold,

To have offspring who her name did restore,

Her successful and well-known descendants

Such as Jeremiah, Priests, many more

Showed the low can thus become ascendant!

Shabbat Shalom!

*cut off = excommunicate or shun; defiant = intentional

** if one refused to stone the man, then stoning would have been prevented

*** tzitzits = fringes or tassels with blue thread on clothing corners

Shabbat Shalom! At Beit Torah we will discuss: who are the power hungry, the egotists, the con men, and the tyrants within politics and government?

Korach 5782 Straying and Dissent; Numbers 16-18; I Samuel 11:14-12:22

Although they were not sent to scout out the Land,

Within the ranks of Levites there was dissent.

Korach was sure that he the People should lead.

Abiram and Dathan followed where he went.

Rebellion continued, now nearly a mob

Of two hundred fifty Chiefs of good repute:

Hoodwinked by Korach? Or Reuvenite desire

To regain first born state, their bitter dispute?

Was it greed for power? Political jibes?

The eternal blame game played by folk in all times?

Korach said now all as Holy Priests could stand.

He ignored duties to strive to be Holy

And clear obligations he’d not understand.

Twas power he wanted, ego feed solely…

Korach brought his followers to the Meeting Tent.

Then before all appeared the Presence of HaShem

Who spoke with Aaron and Moshe about the fate

Of the wayward People who needed to be saved.

So Moshe replied to the challenge with calm:

Come all with fire pans of fire and incense balm

To the Meeting Tent, see who’s chosen come morn…

While signals of earthquakes and sink holes did form...

Moshe could tell well what these signs would portend.

He saw the rebel camps in mortal danger.

He knew from experience how this could end,

But the People knew not as desert strangers.

Moshe warned all to stay clear of those doomed camps,

Explaining that strange death would be upon them.

All Abiram, Dathan, most of Korach stayed...

Their disbelief was quite misplaced. The earth then swayed

And rumbled and opened wide to swallow them

So completely - and then sealed all in the mire.

The shaking and quaking caused panic and fear.

People fled in all directions, falling, dropping wares -

So that the two fifty controlled not their pans…

Fire lit the flammable, engulfing all there…

Fear fired up a mob that blamed Moshe for deaths,

Thinking that he, not HaShem, made folk expire -

Then the Shechinah cloud covered the Meeting Tent

Where with HaShem to talk Moshe quickly went

To stop destruction of the mob, madness bent

Against Moshe and Aaron. The People complained.

Once more Holy Presence of HaShem was perceived

With the Tent of Meeting fully covered in cloud,

While a toxic fumes plague was spreading among folk.

An angered HaShem with Moshe and Aaron spoke

That if G!d destroyed the People 'twould be relieved.

Still, atonement from Moshe and Aaron quite loud

Could stop the plague plus save the sick and those in pain.

So Aaron made fragrant forgiveness prayers,

Stopping the then started plague’s spread through the air.

Just a few thousand [or fifteen K] lost breath...

Fire pans in the blaze were thought to be Holy.

They were gathered to make plating for the Ark.

Yet the leadership question still was open.

So Moshe told Chieftains to bring their rods:

All twelve tribes along with Aaron’s, bark to bark,

Stored overnight – then clearly chosen at dawn

Was Aaron’s blooming and almond fruited one.

Twas placed by the Ark, reaffirming his job.

With all this, Folk feared to be near the Mishkan

Fearing death for their misdeeds then might be won.

While at the Tent, HaShem also said to the bros

That Levites to feel part of the community

Needed Holy chores to do, responsibilities

To feel needed and special, a Tribe HaShem chose!

Without land, the Levites to survive had a need:

For them ten percent tithes and first fruits were received.

As for the first born, boy babes could be redeemed,

One month old: five shekels/ twenty gerahs wad…

Another rebel chapter done, so it seemed…

Shabbat Shalom!

Haftorah, I Samuel

Samuel crowned King Saul at Gilgal reluctantly

As he bowed to the Folk's fear of the Ammonites

And desire, hence, to have one for the nation reign.

Samuel was old and tired, recounting history

Of Jacob, Aaron's and Moshe's with Egyptian fights

Only to have the Promised Land's Folk go astray

With Baal and Ashterot worship in fickle ways

That encouraged invasion by Sisera's troops,

With Philistines' and Moabites' militia groups.

In fear, with remorse and repentance feigned,

Led them to be delivered by Samuel, Bedan,

Yerubaal and Jephtach. Still they did not hold true...

Followed by fear of Ammon's Nachash [snake], pleading

For a King, not understanding what they must do:

Be sure the King was quite devoted to HaShem

Else the People will be struck down, spirits bleeding.

To prove his words, Samuel prayed for rain.

In response, then rain was send for the harvest grain.

Yet People felt unworthy, feared retribution

For sinful ways. Samuel to intercede refused,

Saying: repenting and return is absolution.

Prevent abandonment with heartfelt T'Shuvah used!

Shabbat Shalom! What power do we have to control water availability, purity, snake infestations, or land grabs? At Beit Torah we discuss how these episodes in Torah are reflected in modern life...

Chukat 5782 Power at what price?; Numbers 19-22:1; Shofetim [Judges] 11:1-33

They were short on water, yet pure they still needed to be

Particularly after coming in contact with death.

They took a red heifer, burnt it up to ash completely,

Then mixed its ash with water, all outside the camp, so that

The mix was for use when purification was needed,

Sprinkled by hyssop on tents, vessels, and folks so treated.

Was such a practice needed when Miryam at Kadesh died?

With their dowser gone, there was no water. The People cried -

Which angered Moshe. He spoke harshly to all of no faith

That he would find a way from the rock’s inside to provide

By cracking the volcanic outer shell with two staff strikes…

Yet he should have said the glory was HaShem’s – not his own…

So it’s said that’s why Moish could not go to the Land, go Home.

With all the dramas going on, Moish was likely quite tired,

Wanting to see Midyan family and friends, to retire…

Yet Aaron was feeble, so close to death that up Mount Hor

He went to give his vestments over to his son and more,

With Eleazar as Priest, join his Forbears at Moab’s edge

[Since the Moabite King refused to the People passage].

So there were thirty days folk mourning, for Aaron a pledge…

Arad’s King attacked thinking deep grief weakened the masses,

But the People were strong enough. His attempt met defeat…

Then they kept on going through the wetlands by the Dead Sea

To skirt unwelcoming brother Edom's territory...

While the People complained of no water nor bread to eat...

Along this way of travel they came upon

Some orange-gold coloured snakes’ hatching ground.

That they’re not vipers the Folk did not know,

So hysterics and fear of painful bites

Caused much great distress such that some might die.

So Aaron’s copper serpent staff distracted

The folk to believe it would keep them live

If when they went, they did gaze up at it.

All they had to do was to go, go, go…

There were many Transjordan stops on their way

Through the wadi streams, marshes, and sand dunes.

Then they asked to pass through Amorite lands.

When refused and attacked, they won the day.

Still when faced with Haughty Og, they over-ran

Them with no ask, taking Bashan, their ruins.

Now Ibn Ezra said the Book of Wars

Included songs of praise to these battles,

But given that that Book is now no more,

We’ve no way today to know its prattles.

So we leave this parsha on Moab’s steppes

With Jericho in sight from where Folk slept,

Camped east of Jordan River as it swept.

Haftorah, Judges

Once more we had Ammonites causing grief

When the People were settled in the Land.

Ammonites claimed Israel stole some land

Although Ammonites the People bypassed,

[In fear, the King of Ammon caused his lost war?]

As Moab and Edom were also missed...

But Sihon and Balak had wars all planned

To regain what they caused lost in the past,

Claiming t'was stolen in fake news expressed...

Folk had become soft, so turned to a thief,

A skilled warrior highwayman to stand

Against invaders. With one ask he agreed:

That he’ld become ruler if victory!

Yiftach vowed if so, the first to him meet

At home would be sacrificed – gratitude…

Omitted in Haftorah, verses then say

His daughter, only child, rushed him to greet!

The women mourned her each year for four days…

Later Commenters said she was sent away

Never to know a man in any way...

Shamed such conduct was rude, lewd, and eschewed?

What do you think of their editting ways?

Shabbat Shalom! Who controls our lives: us or HaShem? At Beit Torah we strive to remember to discover all the facts of a situation before coming to a judgment and taking action...

Balak 5782 Truth, Justice, Mercy, Humility, Talking with Animals;

Numbers 22:2-25:9; Micah 5:6-6:8

King Balak viewed the People as a scourge of the Earth,

Wanted to be rid of them for all he was worth...

King Balak sent for Bilaam to curse all the People.

Bilaam clearly did not want to go.

King Balak insisted, bullied Bilaam to come -

HaShem was displeased. Bilaam did know.

So he flatly refused the first commanded request.

Next King Balak offered much wealth for him to agree.

Bilaam rejected the offer at HaShem's behest.

A visit from HaShem that night did change Bilaam's view

Since he agreed that all HaShem decreed to say and do.

So it seems strange that a messenger was sent to kill

Bilaam on his donkey when he was doing G!d's will!

Now on his way, his donkey dear

Could see the danger coming near.

She balked and stopped. Saved his life…

Bilaam had thoughts on other things,

Was not aware what action brings…

He cussed and fussed, beat her thrice.

After the horrid beatings and his donkey's protests,

Bilaam saw the messenger and understood the test:

He had to follow through, do HaShem's request!

Commands, wealth and sacrifices were to no avail

To get KIng Balak the cursing words for Folk to nail...

Balak heard not that Bilaam would predict no false tale!

Bilaam continued on in his unpleasant fate

To thrice bless the Israelites encamped,

Gain King Balak’s ire, punishment could not wait

As HaShem’s consequence, sealed and stamped.

Not only did Balak the camped People not curse

But Bilaam’s three tries led to something far worse…

On the third Ma Tovu blessing it came to pass

That other nations were doomed to lose, alas...

Midyan was a loose Congress of many tribes.

Not in any sense were they ever Moabites.

Now few of the tribes had treaties with Moab Kings

But just for peace and trade, not habits nor rites.

Yet when some Moabite women led men astray,

A Midyanite Princess’s life was to pay

By the hand of a hot-headed, bigot, zealot,

Who skewered her Israelite husband as well,

Them together in their tent on their marital bed.

So Josephus reported this info instead…

Pinchas, his evil rewarded with High Priest’s lot…

Or was it to temper his flames as some might tell?

Haftorah, Micah

Micah predicted Diaspora will work all

Together to prevail over foes come to call;

Told the Folk to go to mountains and plead their case

Recalling the hardships from Balak and Bilaam,

Recalling gracious acts how HaShem saved Ha-Am...

So to please HaShem, no offerings thanks will give

Nor sacrifices nor homages help us live.

But doing what HaShem requires is for our talk:

Do Justice, Love Goodness, with HaShem humbly walk...

Hence Haftorah concludes with how to be a Jew:

Seek Justice, Love Mercy, with all be Humble too.

Shabbat Shalom! At Beit Torah we wonder why bullies feel the need to control rights for women...

Mattot/Masei 5782 Havens, Land, Fighting, Purity, Oaths, Admonition;

Numbers [BaMidbar] 30:2-36:13; Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4, Sephardim add: 4:1-2

Oaths and vows men make, they must do -

But for females, Dads can veto

As can their husbands veto too...

Yet only when oaths or vows first known

Is veto valid or chance is flown.

Fight Midyanites the Folk were told

Using a unit from each tribe.

Rekem, Reva, Zur, Hur, Evi:

Five Kings killed when Folk winning bold...

Hence Moab’s Bilaam lost and died.

It is said Bilaam had orchestrated

The women to entice the men astray…

Still, maybe the People were most hated

For Cozbi’s murder in so foul a way?

In any case, when the fighting was done,

Booty was taken, virgin captives won…

Yet all other prisoners were then killed…

Sounds like S.T.D. plague fear was then stilled.

After all this killing and horrid death,

The troops needed to purify their breath

As described in BaMidbar portions past:

Quarantine, bathing, lustration spray cast…

At least forty two stops by the People were made

While travelling from Egypt to the Promised Land.

In Parashat Masei, they all are named where they stayed:

Noting Elim's twelve springs, seventy palms in sand;

As well as listing Mt. Hor where Aaron expired

At one hundred twenty three years old, at Edom's edge...

Then they went on through Nebo's hills to Moab's steppes,

Camped 'tween Beit-yeshimot and Avel HaShittim.

How many square miles does that area cover?

How many Folk fit in there to rest and retire?

So there at the Jordan near Jericho they slept

While HaShem, it is said, told who would dispossess

The folk of the Land, destroy their idols and places

Entirely for fear that remnants would entice

The People to idolatrous ways, evil vice...

Reuven, Gad, half Menashe got to stay

East of Jordan River’s conquered land

Only if they agreed to join the fray

Conquering the west, as troops undermanned.

Tribes and clans were told that land to be theirs

They would need to conquer their given share,

Leaving not one remnant, all dispossessed,

Else left folk be a thorn, tempting the best

Levites were assigned towns as they had no land

Forty two towns' pastures and six special cities

For the man-slaughterers, these refuge cities:

As no ransom was accepted instead of flight

To these cities from the dangers of vengeful nights...

Three east and three west of River Jordan planned…

Girls inheriting was restricted – a pity…

So Zelophehad's daughters had married in-tribe

To keep inherited land with husbands inside.

What’s to be done on entering the Land

Was explained to the Israelites as well

When they were east of the River encamped.

With all this said there’s little more to tell.

Now other books like Joshua do say

That taking o’er the Land was not this way.

It was slower, not all at once was done…

Not all were dispossessed when wars were won…

Chazak, Chazak, vNitchazek!


Haftorah, Jeremiah 2+

As warned before and in Haftorah too,

The thorns did prick with idols, the Land defiled!

Yet return and repent could see Folk through

Til Nations blessed and praised Folk all the while!

Thus the Prophet Jeremiah claimed HaShem said:

'Did I do wrong? Or did you all never reflect

On why from Egypt you were saved to travel on

Through wilderness, deserts, pits, darkness, deadly drought...

Or even why to fruit and bounty you were brought?

No! Instead you entered and then defiled the Land.

Priests, prophets and rulers did not my way detect.

They ignored me and rebelled, did not seek my hand.

They chased foreign gods and idols, did no good.

You and yours are accused as faithless as you would

Embrace idols, learned not Egyptian lessons you should...

Yet while facing horrors, idols will not save you.

You will turn to me as your Dad, to be rebuked

Unless your abominations you will remove,

Sincerely embrace mitzvot to be redeemed,

And chase just righteousness so by Nations esteemed.'

Shabbat Shalom! At Beit Torah we constantly discuss opposing Amalek's hatreds, bigotries, violence, destructions...

Devarim 5782 Recap; Deuteronomy [Devarim] 1:1-3:22; Isaiah 1:1-27

Now Moshe was an old and feeble man

With his memory mayhap in part shot -

Of his days, they all seemed like yesterday,

So the Devarim Book is what we got:

A recap of forty long desert years;

With fair minded judges appointed per plan;

With wise leaders chosen to pave the way

Despite fights and gripes which seemed quite a lot…

Was it written later in Moshe’s name

Using newer, good language per each jot?

Hot off the press to help Hilkiah teach

A return to the Laws that all might reach?

The bloody overtaking of the Land

With the slaughter of all its native folk

Was perhaps the end goal that Moshe planned,

But in truth not all local folk did croak…

The peoples and nations in Devarim and their known names

Are like in Numbers, but not all fights were described the same:

Amalek, Anakim, Sihon and Og come now to mind...

We close with a reminder that those Folk who stayed behind

Agreed in the East to be shock troops for the Western line.

Joshua, as military leader, was charged to trust

That HaShem would battle with him to conquer as they must…

Haftorah, Isaiah third of admonition/ desolation

Now we approach Tisha B’Av with the first of Isaiah’s words

To the Kings of Judah during their four reigns

Railing against depravities, iniquities of which he heard

That would cause, if unchecked, desolation pains…

He urged them to fully cleanse themselves and right the wrongs they had done,

Such as by protecting widows and orphans, too…

Or if not, Hashem would bring them low until evil was all gone,

Repentant ones called righteous, Zion redeemed anew…

Further, Eighth Century B.C.E., he did say:

'HaShem feels abandoned by your sinful ways.

Unlike domesticated who with their masters stay,

Your rebellions remind HaShem of other days

When Sodom and Gomorrah both were led astray.

So He berates you Folk and clearly to you states

That for objects and sacrifices G!d cares not!

False pieties on Holy Days don't hit the spot!

Just cleanse yourselves of evil doings and do good;

Devote yourselves to Justice to help those in need -

Or wronged. You can repent, do mitzvot as you should

So you can be blessed- OR if not, be cursed with speed.

Know too, you must not others judge if you're with crooks.

HaShem punishes enemies despite good looks.

So too for you if you're with unsavory folk...

Those who repent will be righteous leaders - No joke!

Zion, as 'Righteous, Faithful City', will be saved

By repentant survivors with blessed future paved.'

Shabbat Shalom! How can we comfort the grieving? At Beit Torah we strive to listen and provide comfort as best we can …

Vaetchanan/ Nachamu 5782 Shema; Deuteronomy [Devarim] 3:23-7:11; Isaiah 40:1-26

Now Moshe had high hopes when he set out to do his task:

To free Jacob’s descendants and do all HaShem might ask.

Yet the People were quite naughty with idols, gripes, dissent…

They made HaShem quite cross with them nearly everywhere they went.

Moshe begged on their behalf their punishment to prevent …

HaShem, though cross with Moshe’s ways, in the end did relent.

However Moshe was allowed only the Land to see -

To cross the River Jordan and enter was not to be...

With leading fights on Transjordan land, aged Moish could not keep up.

He sorely blamed HaShem, it is said, for keeping him in the East…

Still it was closer to family… Time for Joshua to lead…

Hence Moshe’s focus was teaching the Law for which there was great need,

Recapping the giving of the Brit by a voice alone, naught seen...

Then No idols could be made of HaShem’s form seen only in dreams.

In short, Moshe Rabbeinu taught the Folk to follow Laws

In order to achieve life especially in the Land,

To avoid destructions, calamities bad choices cause -

Although HaShem promised no annihilation was planned

While Heaven and Earth witness as us caretakers flub up…

And all again told of three refuge cities in the East…

Moshe exhorted Folk to faithfully learn, study, teach

All the Laws as well as the Brit he put within their reach:

NO idols; NO swearing falsely; NO other deities;

Observe Shabbat: livestock, Folk, servants, strangers to include;

Honor your parents [but only their good behaviours do];

NO murder [not ‘killing’]; NO adultery; NO stealing

[particularly of souls and spirits]; NO covetting;

NO false witnessing! Follow the Brit and all Laws to thrive,

To help prevent calamities as well as stay alive!

These Dvarim terms nearly the same as in Exodus jive

When Folk had Moshe tell HaShem's words so to stay alive!

At this point, to the People, Moshe proclaimed the watchword

Of Shema and VeAhavta as Brit, not command nor prayer.

Then he added on some more exhortations to be heard:

When lands are taken, destroy foreign idols, objects, places.

Do not intermarry. Foreign religions: leave no traces…

At times: Folk were told to expel natives; others: kill them there…

These were not the words at Mount Horeb in the Sinai sands.

Hence now we ask: What did they do when they entered the Land?

Haftorah Nachamu, Isaiah

Bloody dramas of this portion along with the good, too,

Leave us a bit unsettled. What history should we rue?

So the comfort of Haftorah is welcomed, Nachamu,

With a promised Jerusalem restored – what does that mean?

Yet with a strong caution since our ephemeral flesh will be

As all is, save the Words of HaShem throughout eternity.

None can be likened to HaShem at whose call all will be seen…

So Comfort’s the call as we go to the High Holy Days scene…

A double punishment for Jerusalem was meted

Then reinstated with the Shechinah when completed.

So all now should feel comforted and ready to rebuild

A highway to Zion for all folks' spirits to be filled

With a desire to follow Laws and do Mitzvot as willed

By HaShem who's eternal; as a shepherd shepherds all.

However, we who are but a blip in time must recall

That only HaShem knows the measure of every part

Of Nature and the Universe; alone will decide,

Consulting no other; all seeing, from sight none can hide.

No idols nor men can to HaShem compare as they, too,

Are not permanent, unlike the Source of all evolved new -

That Source: the True Judge of all Creation, all of us, too.

Shabbat Shalom! How can we care for the needy: the homeless, the disabled, etc.? At Beit Torah we strive to provide care to the needy as best we can …

Eikev 5782 Tikun Olam; Deuteronomy [Devarim] 7:12-11:25; Isaiah 49:14-51:3

This portion reiterated that all needed to follow the Laws

Or else, it is further stated, there will be curses without pause.

Blessings, respect, admiration by all nations if we’re true -

Or if not, infertility plagues and Egyptian diseases we knew

Will return with People’s bad choices regardless of prayer filled voices.

Reminders of the past recalled forty wilderness wander years,

Of Egypt’s plagues and wonders: miracle at the Sea of Reeds;

Manna as food; broken tablets; water found to provide for needs.

Stiff-neckedness; orneriness; building a golden calf from fears;

Fire destroying outskirts of camp along with Judges’ Meeting Tent;

Also plague from gluttony with uncooked quail as they went;

For such weaknesses and much more were these all as punishment sent

While Moshe interceded many times to save from even worse;

Refused to father a nation; preferred to help ours to heed;

Argued that to abandon the Folk, to all nations' scorn would lead.

The People built an Ark as per given specs to avoid being cursed.

To Ancestors the Land was promised. ‘Twill be given on their crowns.

A Land of plenty to mines and eats: give thanks when tummies full!

So, too, the People’s survival not by their merit but by grace

Of HaShem so they could conquer thirty-one Kings’ Canaanite towns…

This largess and Moshe’s pleadings repeatedly saved Aaron’s face

As well as of erring People’s, who’d yet to earn their Holy place

Housing tablets and arks under Aaron's then Eleazar's pull.

Heed, they’re told: shun idolatry; treat all with no favors nor bribes

Just as HaShem does follow Laws; care for the widows and strangers,

Fatherless, converts, as you should your own family’s weal and lives.

Faithfully perform all the mitzvot to avoid further dangers…

Do not forget, by becoming prideful, from whence all your bounty came;

Taking credit not yours; forgetting Egypt, thirst, scorpions, snakes:

Hardships to make you mature to avoid becoming doomed again...

Our second Shema paragraph, therein included, clearly stated:

Follow Laws, love HaShem to be blessed. Be faithful so all goes well.

Care for livestock, the less fortunate, and children before yourselves.

If these things aren’t done, you’ll be cursed. Bless HaShem when you are sated.

Haftorah, Isaiah 49

HaShem promised to rebuild and restore the Folk

After they felt abandoned by G!d in the Land.

So Isaiah asked: 'How could this possibly be?

For HaShem sees all deserving of praise or woe -

Saw how your stolen kids were raised by pagan hands,

Hands which will return those children, set karma free

To pay evil in kind, as HaShem decides...

Now I, Isaiah, proudly show myself to all

As I trust in HaShem unlike they who light fires

With their distrust of G!d to flail in burning pain.

So listen to me now! You must Justice desire;

Remember your Ancestors from whom we all gain

Our love of HaShem, the Brit, Mitzvot we all seek

To find comfort, Zion rebuilt into Eden complete

With gladness, joy, thanksgiving, and musical treats.'

Hence a similar vein in Haftorah we find

As HaShem cares for offspring, cautions them to mind

With pronouncements and deserved punishments dished out

Calling all: pursue Justice, the Holy revere

As we recall our forebears who answered the call

To reach comfort, fruitfulness, joys bringing us near

With gladness, sweet music, thanksgiving, love and cheer!

Shabbat Shalom! At Beit Torah we strive to find better ways to meet challenges …

Re’eh 5782, Comfort Food; Deuteronomy [Devarim] 11:26-16:17; Isaiah 54:11-55:5

This is the well known portion with focus on one thing:

When one is given to choose between curse and blessing,

One should choose life for the blessings, many it will bring,

Not like barren Ebal but like the lush Gerizim -

Both west of Jordan River where Folk entered the Land

In which they would follow rules and Laws as HaShem planned.

Yet first they were to wipe out all the idolatry,

All forms considered evil, including folk you’ll see

Encouraging your false worship – hence they all should be

Destroyed – including false prophets, even family…

Subverted false prophet town totally gone astray

Must with all inhabitants be to the ground all razed.

This is uncomfortable to hear in today’s world.

We will not do as they did with harsh killing unfurled.

Challenges to keep you faithful are a test, you see.

How you handle them determines how righteous you'll be.

To get those desired blessings, worship as you are told,

Not as others do. Bless the future with good and right

As you rejoice appointed times with all your household,

With sacred and freewill offerings, feasts at night…

Recall: all of the blood is to be poured on the ground -

No self-mutilations among you are to be found …

Permitted foods are listed as was noted before,

Save for the eating of locusts permitted no more.

For some urban dwellers it is easier to do -

For farmers post-influx just locusts are left to eat…

Further, do not boil a kid in its mama’s milk too

And do not consume natural death carrion meat!

All offerings should be at the designated place,

Although must be observed even if too far away -

So if tithes the trip to the Holy Site won’t survive

Then they are to be sold with all funds hence to be used

On many goods at the designated Holy See

Of the Levites’ refuge, to boost the economy,

While making sure strangers, orphans, widows, and needy

Are always provided for not just on all feasts!

Now each seventh year remission of debts for the poor

Expected to default yet still given loans before…

Further release of indentured servants if they want

So all released plus the poor can get a new start…

Compassion’s the lesson for generations to flaunt…

We’re told the first born are consecrated to the Priests.

No repeat mention is made of the Pidyon HaBen…

Of importance it is said to celebrate all Feasts:

Pascal offering, seven unleavened days, and then

The Feast of Weeks and of Booths the whole household rejoices

At pilgrimage times with Feast special rites until when:

Sephard unblemished offered; Ashkenaz other choices…

The Haftorah tries to comfort the forlorn

Saying scholars will be children yet unborn;

Destroyed buildings rebuilt in beautiful form;

Safety from wars and slander will be achieved

If faithful to Laws the forlorn will then be.

For hunger and thirst, food and drink will be free.

Be righteous so protected from harm you'll be.

Your knowledge and counsel the Nations will seek.

Shabbat Shalom! At Beit Torah we seek honor and integrity in our judges and leaders - or at least we should …

Shoftim 5782 Honor and Integrity; Deuteronomy [Devarim] 16:18-21:9; Isaiah51:12-52:12

We read: “Justice, Justice shall you pursue”

With humble Kings who know Laws to be strict;

With impartial Judges and taking no bribes;

With two witnesses needed to convict

And cast the very stones to take those lives

Of idolaters or who verdicts flee

From Judges’ decisions or those of Priests

When Judges can't decide who should be free...

Now if a witness a false statement gives,

And an investigation proves it so,

Then the punishment for the crime is his.

Paid equivalent for each loss you know -

Eye worth for eye... or tooth, hand, foot as you go…

Mellows Hammurabi’s harsh edict so!

When Folk are settled in the Land,

Three refuge cities there are planned,

Three more elsewhere if all goes well

For man-slaughterers to restart

Since spilt innocent blood brings shame

To all Folk under this Land's name!

If murder with intent instead,

To blood-avenger until dead…

There is always much to be truly judged:

Whether some boundary markers were moved?

Whether a prophet is true one or false?

If false, should die – but how can it be proved?

A chosen Monarch like a Judge should be...

Ever loyal to HaShem, humble, true,

Not haughty, faithful to Laws’ study too,

Not alien foreigner nor a hoarder

Of gold and silver nor of wives or steeds…

No exchange with Egypt for any needs…

No altars save only to HaShem,

Unblemished offered, no deities.

Support the Levites with sacrifices

Wherever may be their communities.

So if a human corpse on the road is found,

Responsibility’s on the nearest town

To bury, but Levites must clear the site,

Purify and absolve all guilt and fright.

Death if heathen acts are done, dispossessed:

Sacrificer of kids; caster of spells;

Consulter with ghosts, spirits or the dead;

An auger; diviner; or sorcerer;

A soothsayer to be cast out as well.

Now in battle do not fear. HaShem with you will be near!

In a war you must preserve women, children, trees and vines

So that after the battles one can collect grapes for wines.

Even as the fellow with new unused vineyard released,

So too, the betrothed or one afraid, home sent they’re to be.

Offer surrender before battle save to some locals

To be killed for fear that idolatry might be increased.

To comfort those in deep dread and fear,

Isaiah: 'stand tall, proclaim your faith

To the Holy Name, one who is near,

Who marches with you if you’re sincere.'

Isaiah said, 'These are HaShem's words to be heard':

"I am the one to comfort you short-lived mortals -

I, the Source of all the Heaven's and Earth's portals...

While you feel the rage of oppressors, I protect

You, my People, as I stir all the seas to roar

To regain unguided kids, raised on foreign floors...

For your tragedies, on tormentors my wrath'll be.

Zion, once you're awake, rebuild yourselves restored

So that the unrighteous will enter you no more.

Recover from exile. From temptation be free.

In order to be able to see, embrace me

So that your return to the pure all will perceive

As you march into the future along with me..."

Shabbat Shalom! At Beit Torah we strive to fastidiously follow the laws?

Ki Tetzei 5782 Way to Live; Deuteronomy [Devarim] 21:10-25:19; Isaiah 54:1-10

This portion’s seventy-four mitzvot we find,

But not all appear in these comments in kind:

Treat fair captives kindly, marry or release;

Give less loved wife a double portion increase;

Gal post-second husband can’t return to first;

Women’s rights not great – other nations were worse;

Newlywed exemptions like from army draft;

Sex, slave traders should be executed fast;

Nocturnal emission? Bathe and wait the day;

Rape of not betrothed means bride price must be paid;

Rapist of betrothed like adulterers die,

Including women in town not heard to cry;

Prove virginity at marriage, else no go;

Sex with close relatives is a big no-no;

No mixtures of work animals, threads, or seeds;

On outer clothing one needs to put tzitzits;

Shield escaped servants; just nest’s eggs to be used;

Make sure your homes are safe with guard rails for roofs;

Vows are to be honored as noted before;

Lepers like Miriam follow their Priests’ lore;

Shun bastards, maimed, Moabites, and Ammonites…

Grandkids okay of Egyptians, Edomites...

Lending’s at no interest among the Folk.

With no inflation worries, ‘twasn’t a joke!

Collateral of needs not to be taken

For loans to servants, widows, fatherless, poor,

Such as a mill or millstones, night clothes, and more;

For these people and for strangers, too, recall

To leave olives, grapes, and field gleanings for all.

Collection of debts’ not to endanger souls

Nor intimidate by forced entry to homes.

There’s no collective family sin assigned

For individual’s guilty act we find;

Even for cults, harlotry, defiant sons,

Cross-dressing or failure to pay wages same day won,

Pay those workers before going home at night,

No false weights or altered measures to your likes.

For all those sins for which guilty’s life is paid,

They’re to be impaled for view until end of day.

However for defiant sons "buts' were made,

Allowances on when that law was then stayed,

So many restrictions were oft put in place

That they say no son ever died thus to this day...

Judgments can be given up to forty blows.

No excess punishment was allowed you know...

If a brother’s levirate marriage is refused,

The widow in public then spits in his shoe.

If wife defends husband crushing attacker’s balls,

Her hand’s to be cut off! What a sexist call!

Had hubby protected wife in such a way,

What charges would be made? What would Judges say?

Care for wayward animals until claimed;

Do not muzzle oxen as they tread their grain;

If livestock is in distress, help fix the mess.

Remember Amalek who preyed on the weak,

Who must be wiped out each year, every week!

A favorite Haftorah appears this week

As only ten short verses to read there be!

From barren to fruitful inhabited Land

Is promised by HaShem with kindness and peace,

Leaving behind anger and rebuke now canned,

Returning comfort with compassion’s increase.

Shabbat Shalom! How do we reaffirm our dedication to the Brit and the MItzvot? At Beit Torah we seek ways to do so:

Ki Tavo 5782 ReDedication; Deuteronomy [Devarim] 26:1-29:8; Isaiah 60:1-22

This discourse further explains Sinai's Mt. Horeb's Brit

With details of outcomes: Blessings and curses replete.

So we start this week’s portion with a simple refrain:

All first fruits we give to HaShem in thanks for the Land

While we recall Laban’s treachery in Aram pain;

Times in Egypt with servitude oppressing each man;

Resolve to care for strangers, Levites, needy, and poor.

With third year tithes collected they can get even more.

If all mitzvot followed correctly, renown’s at hand.

Upon entry to the Promised Land, the Folk were told

In order for folk to reaffirm the Holy Brit

They needed to write the Law on twelve pillar steles,

Plaster covered like Egypt’s, but in this Land won’t hold

[Too wet!], these twelve placed on Mount Ebal for all to see…

Six tribes stood on Ebal and six others Gerizim,

With Cohanim and altar in the valley below.

As blessings were pronounced, all said, “Amen” in clear voice

Just as in prayer services of later years we know.

All Folk remembered well this event of our Brit choice.

The Blessings were clearly coming from observing rules:

Such as fertility in family, flocks and fields;

Surpluses in many products; with a plenty food;

Enemies will be scattered; safety in travel too.

So all will be approached from the head, not the tail/ heels!

Then the curses were so listed in spades

For surreptitious acts: accepting bribes;

For violating Parents, Dads, their wives;

For assault in secret, taking of lives;

Moving land boundaries; misdirecting

Of the disabled, not them protecting;

Like not caring for fatherless, strangers,

And the widows to keep them from dangers;

For, too, illicit sex hidden from day;

For all those who refused still to obey:

Weather calamities, blessings reversed,

With pandemics, inflammations, folks cursed…

Madness, abuse at the hands of others…

Infidelities, idolatries, pests,

Panic, corpse rotting, kids as slaves brothers,

Infestations, infections, no nerve rest…

Strangers rule, no place as home, projects doomed…

As in Lamentations, all horrors loomed…

By ever increasing fear, thoughts that Folk would be plagued,

Cursing all communities and folk for their straying...

An encouraging closing is meted out to all:

Since succeeded with Reuven’s, Gad’s, and half-Menashe’s call

On the River’s East, so too on the West: Success with Gall!


Isaiah’s haftorah promises this week:

Even when other nations sit in the dark

Light upon you will illuminate your mark

So that all sorts of bounty, yours if you seek:

Flourishing trade with economic boom;

Fertile families and business stations;

Victory without violence will resume!

With all prospering and Peace throughout the Land!

Bright days and nights, hence no need for sun nor moon...

Our small nation will have honor in the world,

Our flag equal among all nations unfurled!

HaShem will glory in our mighty nation

Planted here with our Brit as a stronghold grand!


Shabbat Shalom! Do we pursue good quality of life for all? At Beit Torah we strive to do so:

Nitzavim 5782 Choose Life; Deuteronomy 29:9-30; Isaiah 61:10-63:9

One small chapter reveals this week's

Impending joys, forgiveness' peak,

With Days of Awe's New Year we seek

Choosing Life once more; Hope replete

With some yummy food and community,

Families or chosen with whom to be...

Again we read reaffirmation of our Brit

So we’ll be blessed if we avoid idolatry

We did in Egypt, in other nations did see;

Also avoid the fallout from idolatry

And follow all the Mitzvot Laws to not be cursed…

If we do not, life for all will be even worse.

The whole Land will suffer even if some don’t sin.

For those who scoff Laws, pardon's no path, can’t come in.

Now if on bad times you fall for you do not heed,

You can repent, return, choose Life's blessings you see...

To follow all the Brit Laws, it isn’t too hard.

Hence it should be easy to choose which side of the card

Stands for blessings witnessed well by Heaven and Earth

So all choices combined will cause blessing not curse.


Isaiah once more with words of comfort galore

That Jerusalem’s returning People and more

Lead to rejoicing, redeemed by HaShem so well…

"Since Hashem has so blessed me with bounty galore,

I must not be silent, must praise G!d ever more

As I work to rebuild, glorify Holy Land,

So Jerusalem no longer defiled will be...

Idolaters and invaders will not succeed

In abominations they try to bring in hand...

Nations saw our triumph of return as we tell:

HaShem’s not now angry; with mercy we’re renewed;

Saved with love; vengeance, anger, and fury eschewed!

Through G!d's agency, redeemed the People will be

Not by their own power, so praise to G!d they'll sing!"

in the news:

May we forgive trespasses against us and be forgiven for ours!

Shanah Tova Tikateivu!

And Shabbat Shalom!