Torah

Parashat Terumah: The Power of Our Contribution

parashat-terumah

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. I love Parashat Terumah because it speaks about the heart, about giving. It deals with the inner struggles that we all have between the desire to give and help, and the natural inclination towards selfishness, to care about the most important person in the world – “me”. It teaches the value of investment, of giving, and of creating. We learn that the Israelites gave a heartfelt contribution. They gave a lot more than was necessary, until Moses actually had to issue an order for them to stop…

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Parashat Mishpatim: Is Our Compassion Making Us Cruel?

parashat-mishpatim

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. These are the laws you are to set before them… – Exodus 21:1 [NIV] After the Ten Commandments are given, there is a long list of laws and orders related to the course of life, such as a person’s property, responsibility for this property, laws of loss, and the relationship between the citizen and the government. This Shabbat I want to talk a bit about the contrast between the exciting and the mundane, between the extraordinary and the ordinary. Then I want to talk a little…

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Parashat Yitro: From My God to Our God

parashat-yitro

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. This Shabbat we read and learn from Parashat Yitro. This is an important Torah portion because it gives the account in which God gave the Ten Commandments to the nation of Israel, which of course, are the heart of the Torah. In addition, in Parashat Yitro we bear witness to a big change in the Torah. There is a shift from a focus on individuals to a focus on the group. This is a huge change in how we perceive God. The importance of this point is…

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Parashat Beshalach: Do Miracles Really Build Faith?

parashat-beshalach

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. In the Bible, we read about amazing miracles, similar to what we read in this week’s Torah portion. Our weekly Torah portion describes the miracle of the Exodus, the parting of the Red Sea, manna in the desert, water out of a rock, and the war with the Amalekites, where Moses raised his hands and brought victory for Israel. All of this brings about an important question in our modern society: Where have all the miracles and wonders gone? If I were to personally witness…

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Parashat Bo: Do We Have Free Will? (part 2)

parashat-bo

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. Last week we concluded the weekly Torah portion with a thought-provoking question: What happened to Pharaoh’s freedom of choice? We talked about how each person has the power and the ability to choose whether or not to follow God’s path. Free will is a gift from God; we’ve backed this up with several verses such as: …I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live… – Deuteronomy 30:19b [NIV] God says “choose…

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Parashat Vayeira: Do We Have Free Will?

parashat-vayeira

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. Passover is one of the main feasts in The Scriptures due to its motif of redemption, salvation, and the creation of God’s people. Passover is the connection between God and a nation, “…you will be my people, and I will be your God.” On Passover we drink four cups of wine which describe and represent the four stages of redemption from Egypt. This is based on the first verses from this week’s Torah portion: …I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.…

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Parashat Shemot: Moses’ Excuses, Our Calling

parashat-shemot

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. In some respects, Parashat Shemot, our weekly Torah portion, connects us to some of the major parts of the Torah. This parasha brings us back to the beginning, as well as connects us with the giving of the Torah, the prophets, and even the New Testament. The portion begins with the following concept: But the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them. – Exodus 1:7 [NIV] This verse should remind us…

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Parashat Vayechi: He Has Removed Our Transgressions

parashat-vayechi

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Daniel Stern. In this week’s Torah portion we read about Jacob’s blessings to his sons and grandsons, who are the heads of the tribes of Israel. This was followed by Jacob’s death along with the mourning and burial process. After that we come to a section that I find particularly interesting. Genesis 50 verses 15 through 21 describe events between the sons of Jacob after his death. Joseph’s brothers, who had been very envious, planned to kill him, and eventually sold him into slavery, were fearful that…

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Parashat Vayigash: That We May Live and Not Die

parashat-vayigash

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. This week’s Torah portion is “Vayigash” (he approached). Our parasha unfolds after Joseph suspected Benjamin of stealing the cup of the viceroy. The situation looked bad for Joseph’s brothers. The previous time that they went down to Egypt, they were accused of being spies. One of the brothers, Simon, was even taken prisoner right before their eyes and remained in the Egyptian prison up until now. At this moment, they’ve been incriminated as being thieves – there seems to be no good outcome to this saga. Judah, the leader…

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Parashat Miketz: You Are the Light of the World

parashat-miketz

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. “Let there be light…” Shabbat Shalom and Happy Holidays, this week we study the weekly Torah portion, “Parashat Miketz,” and we also are celebrating Hanukkah. First of all, I want to talk about light. Hanukkah is a holiday that focuses on light, it is about triumphing over darkness and of victory for the weak over the strong. In fact, light was the first element created in the world, as it is written: And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that…

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Parashat Vayishlach: Purity of Arms

parashat-vayishlach

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. Shabbat Shalom, I am currently located in northern Israel doing my military reserve duty. I’d like to share a few brief points with you about this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Vayishlach. I want to focus on two different points and verses, which complement one another. These points elaborate the idea of perfect faithfulness and gratitude as well as its application in a military sense. Further, I’d like to touch on how we live in the delicate balance between our faith life and the physical reality before us. An incomprehensible gift The first verse I want…

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Parashat Vayetze: We Are All Made of the Same Stuff

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. In the book of Genesis, Jacob is depicted as being a person of profound character. During his lifetime, he changed his disposition and seemingly matured. He went from being the Jacob that harmed other people, to the one who was given the name Israel. Even more so, Jacob continued to develop from a religious and spiritual aspect. Let’s take a look at some of the previously mentioned patriarchs of the book of Genesis and do a quick comparison amongst them. We encounter Abraham at age…

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Parashat Toldot: Jacob, a Dweller in Tents

parashat-toldot

 Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. This Shabbat we will read and study the weekly Torah portion, “Parashat Toldot.” The Torah portions from Genesis are rich in information and details. There is much to learn from these portions, especially from this week’s. Today I want to focus on Jacob’s work ethic as well as a common question that arises in Jewish tradition, was he considered a yeshiva student? This question causes us to ask ourselves the following, how much quality-time are we spending with God and what is our top priority…

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Parashat Chayei Sarah: Eliezer’s Impossible Test

parashat-chayei-sarah

Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. This week we will talk about the weekly Torah portion, Parashat Chayei Sarah. The main subject I want to talk about is the assignment that Abraham gives to Eliezer – to find a suitable wife for Isaac.  There is a winning combination here between Divine Providence and human wisdom. I want to focus on this. As an introduction to this teaching, I would like to emphasize that our world is very complicated, we are complicated people. God knows exactly what kind of world He has put…

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Torah Portion 11/4/17: Abraham’s Greatest Challenge

parashat-vayera

Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. Parashat Vayera Shabbat Shalom, Parashat Vayera is a difficult passage that raises many questions, for example: When the angels visited Abraham, they ate food, in other places in the Bible and in Jewish tradition angels cannot eat. What made the angels who visited Abraham different? Why could they eat? Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt. Lot’s daughters rape their father and bear him children. Abraham claims before the king of Gerar that Sarah is his sister and not his wife, after making the same…

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Torah Portion 10/28/17: Abraham, the Man of Faith

Abraham, the Man of Faith

Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana. Parashat Lech Lecha Shabbat Shalom, In this week’s Torah portion we find the famous verse: Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. – Genesis 15:6 [NIV] Abraham is mentioned several times in the New Testament as a symbol of man’s faith, in James 2, Romans 4, Hebrews 11, and elsewhere. Despite all these descriptions in the New Testament, the following verses show a response from Abraham that raises questions about his faith in God’s promise: He [God] also said to him…

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