Parashat Lech L’cha tells us the story of the very beginning of Jewish history, when God says to Abraham and Sarah that they are to “go forth” and begin the story of Jewish commitment.
Parashat Vayeira starts with a cliffhanger. We’re told that God appeared before Abraham, but that’s it—we never find out where God appears or what God says. Instead, we get three desert wanderers, who have important news for Abraham. So, where is God in this story?
Translated, Chayei Sarah means “the life of Sarah.” It’s an odd title for a parashah that opens with Sarah’s death, but even though this parashah doesn’t detail Sarah’s life, it does teach us about the kind of life she lived.
Parashat Nitzavim features the phrase “choose life,” but what does it mean to choose life? One way of choosing life is by becoming an organ donor. Rabbi Jacobs discusses why this lifesaving choice is part of his Jewish values in this episode of On the Other Hand.
Parashat Tzav opens with a command to Aaron, the high priest. It’s a moment to think about leadership – who are our leaders and what do they do? Are our leaders born into the role, like Aaron, or are they called to leadership, like Moses?
In this special Passover episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs discusses empathy. The story of Passover asks that we put ourselves in the shoes of those who escaped slavery and travelled to freedom, and that we think about what it’s like to have nothing.
Parashiyot Tazria and M’tzora are perhaps the most nerve inducing parashiyot in many Jewish circles, and it makes sense—most people aren’t typically eager to discuss leprosy.