Weekly Torah Portion – Shelach Lecha

This week’s torah portion is the source of the 3rd paragraph of the Shema/VeAhavta and it instructs us to wear ‘tzit-tzit’, the fringes at the corners of our garments. How powerful can a ritual to wear fringes be? This uniform custom has been practised by the Jewish people across time and space. While the Shema and the Ve’Ahavta may not be as emotional as other Jewish prayers, it has grounded our people in ritual for thousands of years.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Shelach Lecha. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Shelach Lecha”

Weekly Parshah Reflections – Be’haalotecha

In this week’s torah portion of Be’haalotecha the Israelites complain about their gift of manna and instead demand meat to eat. Incapable of seeing the good in what they have, the Israelites lay the groundwork for further negativity and short-sightedness. This spells trouble as they will soon be punished with wandering the desert for 40 years.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Be’haalotecha. Continue reading “Weekly Parshah Reflections – Be’haalotecha”

Weekly Parshah Reflections – Naso

This week’s torah portion of Naso introduces a bizarre ritual called ‘sotah’. In this ritual, a man that suspects his partner of adultery brings her before the priests. They write down a few verses from Torah on parchment and place it into a vessel with water. Once the ink dissolves into the drink, the accused woman must drink it. Another story that we will read in a few weeks time discusses equality for women. One story is enshrined as a rule and the other is merely an inspiring anecdote. Which of the two will bring about true change? If the answer is obvious, may our actions be motivated by these lessons of justice.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Naso. Continue reading “Weekly Parshah Reflections – Naso”

Special Holiday Edition – Shavuot

The real focus of the Ten Commandments is not how a ‘person’ acts; instead, it is about how ‘people’ respond to one another. The hope is not that we be perfect beings but rather that we be present and engaged ones. Each commandment is an invitation to be a better partner in the relationship.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the holiday of Shavuot. Continue reading “Special Holiday Edition – Shavuot”

Weekly Torah Portion – Ba’Midbar

In Hebrew, writing ‘in the desert’ is spelled using the same four letters as writing ‘through the act of speaking’. Both speech and deserts can lead to great confusion. What is the oasis when it comes to communicating our emotions? – Song!

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Ba’Midbar. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Ba’Midbar”

Weekly Torah Portion – Behar-Bechukotai

In Exodus the Israelites are commanded to observe Shabbat. In this week’s torah portion they are commanded to allow the land to rest every seven years – Shemitah. While there are economic benefits to rest and renewal, there are also many economic fears. Nevertheless, mitzvot are not given based economic impact, rather based on soul impact. Although it is scary or challenging to cease creating, counter-intuitively it is precisely this cessation that creates a new version of ourselves.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Double Parshah of Behar-Bechukotai. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Behar-Bechukotai”

Weekly Parshah Reflections – Emor

Rabbi Akiva taught that “we are all created in the image of the Divine. This is greatest principle in Torah.” The upcoming holiday of Lag B’Omer commemorates the end of a plague that struck the students of Rabbi Akiva. It is said they were struck by plague because of their bitterness and pettiness against one another. This stands in stark contrast to Rabbi Akiva who taught that love of your fellow human is core to what it means to be a Jew.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Emor. Continue reading “Weekly Parshah Reflections – Emor”

Weekly Parshah Reflections – Achrei Mot-Kedoshim

“The Golden Rule”.. perhaps the most commonly quoted commandment from the whole of Torah: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. Less well known is the verse which comes before it and says “rebuke your fellow”. Yet when it comes to both these principles, we often lie to ourselves in order to preserve the created version of who we think we are or who ‘they’ are. But there is a solution.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Double Parshah of Achrei Mot-Kedoshim. Continue reading “Weekly Parshah Reflections – Achrei Mot-Kedoshim”

Weekly Torah Portion – Tazria-Metzora

This week’s torah portion Tazria-Metzora discusses the skin malady called ‘tzara’at’. Once the sick individual completes their 7-day quarantine, the Cohen then comes to inspect the skin to ensure they have indeed healed completely. Why are the cohanim the ones that check for healing? Where are the doctors? The reason is that the Cohanim are always witnesses to healing of various types. Now that we no longer have cohanim serving the Temple in Jerusalem, who are the new witnesses to healing?

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Tazria-Metzora. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Tazria-Metzora”

Weekly Torah Portion – Shemini

This week’s torah portion of Shemini (8th Day) tells the story of a new chapter for the Israelites and its priestly system. New beginnings are rarely ever ‘entirely’ new. This continuity from previous journeys means that we may feel ready to act when, in fact, we are not. Alternatively, starting fresh or facing a new challenge sometimes makes us think we are ill-equipped to rise to the challenge when we actually are. Both miscalculations can have dire results. May we have the wisdom to know when to act and when to listen.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Shemini. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Shemini”