“No flour, no Torah; no Torah, no flour.” – Pirkei Avot 3:21
The Weekly Torah Morsel is a short commentary on one or more verses in the parashat ha-shavua, the chapters for that week from the Five Books of Moses. Traditionally, they are read publicly on Monday, Thursday, and Shabbat. The archive began in the latter part of Exodus because that was where we were in the annual cycle when I started The Parve Baker. By following the calendar for the weekly readings, I hope to completed all, but one in early 2009. It is one of my favorites, Ki Tissa. I will add it when the time feels right.
The Weekly Torah Morsels available here are listed sequentially by book with the Hebrew name of the reading, such as Kidoshim, followed by the verse(s) addressed in the commentary:
Bereishit – Genesis
Bereishit – God called the light: “Day,” and the darkness, “Night.” And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (1:5) | Noach – The dove came back to him in the evening and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf. (8:11) | Lekh Lekha – The Lord said to Abram: Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. (12:1) | Vayera – Let a little water be brought; bathe your feet, and recline under the tree. And let me fetch a morsel of bread that you may refresh yourselves…. (18:4-5) | Chayyei Sarah – Isaac then brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he took Rebekah as his wife. Isaac loved her, and thus found comfort after his mother’s death. (24:67) | Toledot – Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open famished. (26:29) | Va-yetse – He had a dream; a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it. (28:12) | Va-yishlach – That is why to this day the children of Israel do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the socket of the hip, since Jacob’s hip socket was wrenched at the thigh muscle. (32:33) | Va-yeshev – When the chief baker saw how favorably he had interpreted, he said to Joseph, “In my dream, similarly, there were three openwork baskets on my head.”. (40:16) | Mikkets – The seven years of abundance that the land of Egypt enjoyed came to an end, and the seven years of famine set in, just as Joseph had foretold. (41:53-54) | Va-yigash – And they told Jacob their father, “Joseph is still alive; yes, he is ruler over the whole land of Egypt.” Jacob’s heart went numb, for he did not believe them. (45:26) | Va-yechi And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see you again, and here God has let me see your children as well.” (48:11)
Shemot – Exodus
Shemot – An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed. (3:2-3) | Va-era - The Lord replied to Moses, “See, I place you in the role of God to Pharaoh, with your brother Aaron as your prophet.” (7:1) | Bo – In the middle of the night, the Lord struck down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on the throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the first-born of the cattle. And Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians – because there was a loud cry in Egypt; for there was no house where there was not someone dead. (12:29-30) | Beshallach – And the house of Israel called it by the name, Manna; and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. (16:31) | Yitro – You shall not covet your neighbor’s house: you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male or female slave, or his ox or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (20:14) | Mishpatim – The choice first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. (23:19). | Terumah – There I will meet with you and I will impart to you – from above the cover, from between the two cherubs that are on top on the Ark of the Pact – all that I will command you concerning the Israelite people. (25:21) | Tetsavveh – On its hem make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, all around the hem, with bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe. (28:33-34). | Ki Tissa… | Va-yakhel – You shall kindle no fire throughout your settlements on the Sabbath day. (35:3) | Pekudei - Just as the Lord had commanded Moses, so the Israelites had done all the work. And when Moses saw that they had performed all the tasks – as the Lord had commanded, so they had done – Moses blessed them. (39:42-43)
Va-yikra – Leviticus
Va-yikra - When a person presents an offering of meal to the Lord, [the] offering shall be of choice flour….(2:1) | Tsav - Out of this he shall offer one of each kind as a gift to the Lord; it shall go to the priest who dashes the blood of the offering of peace. (7:14) | Shemini - These are the creatures that you may eat from among all the land animals: any animal that has true hoofs, with clefts through the hoofs, and that chews the cud – such you may eat. (11:2-3) | Tazria – When the skin of one’s body sustains a burn by fire….(13:24)| Metsora – …the priest shall order two live clean birds, cedar wood, crimson stuff, and hyssop to be brought for him who is to be cleansed (Leviticus 14:4) | Acharei Mot – No person among you shall partake of blood, nor shall the stranger who resides among you partake of blood. (17:12) | Kidoshim - When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; I the Lord am your God. (19:9-10) | Emor - When you enter the land that I am giving to you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest. He shall elevate the sheaf for before the Lord for acceptance on your behalf…And from the day on which you bring the sheaf of the elevation offering…you shall count off seven weeks. They must be complete: you must count until the day after the seventh week – fifty days; then you shall bring a new offering of grain to the Lord. You shall bring from your settlements two loaves of bread as an elevation offering; each shall be baked after leavening, as first fruits to the Lord. (23:10-11, 15-17) | Be-Har - Six years you may sow your field and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in the yield. But in the seventh year, the land shall have a Sabbath of complete rest, a Sabbath of the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. (25:3-4) | Be-Chukkotai - When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven; they shall dole out your bread only by weight, and though you eat, you shall not be satisfied.(26:26)
Be-Midbar – Numbers
Be-Midbar - The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: Do not let the group of Kohathite clans be cut off from the Levites. Do this with them, that they may live and not die when they approach the most sacred objects…. (4:17-19) | Naso - If anyone, man or woman, explicitly utters nazarite’s vow, to set himself apart for the Lord, he shall abstain from wine and any other intoxicant; he shall not drink vinegar of wine or any other intoxicant; neither shall he drink anything in which grapes have been steeped, nor eat grapes fresh or dried. Throughout his term as a nazarite, he may not eat anything that is obtained from the grapevine, even seeds or skin. (6:2-4) | Be-Ha’alotekha - The meat was still between their teeth, not yet chewed, when the anger of the Lord struck the people with a very severe plague. (11:33) | Shelach-Lekha - Is the country in which they dwell good or bad? (13:19) | Korach - …the staff of Aaron of the house of Levi had sprouted: it had brought forth sprouts, produced blossoms, and borne almonds. (17:23) | Chukkat - Miriam died and was buried there. (20:1) | Balak – Just then one of the Israelites came and brought a Midianite woman over to his companions, in the sight of Moses and the whole Israelite community who were weeping at the entrance of the tent of Meeting. (25:6) | Pinchas – Be punctilious in presenting to Me at stated times My offering, My food, as offerings by fire of pleasing odor to Me. (28:1) | Mattot – Build towns for your children and sheepfolds for your flocks, but do what you have promised. (32:24) | Mas’ei – You shall not pollute the land in which you live; for blood pollutes the land, and the land can have no expiation for blood that is shed on it, except the blood of him who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I Myself abide, for I the Lord abide among the Israelite people. (35:33-34)
Devarim – Deuteronomy
Devarim – Then the Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you like a swarm of bees and chased you, and they crushed you at Hormah in Seir. (1:44) | Va-’Etchannan – Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. (6:4) | ‘Ekev When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. (8:10) | Re’eh But whenever you desire, you may slaughter and eat meat in any of your settlements, according to the blessing that the Lord your God has granted you. (12:15) | Shof’tim When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the ax against them. You may eat of them, but you must not cut them down. Are the trees of the field human to withdraw before you in the besieged city? (20:19) | Ki Tetse’ When you enter another’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you want, until you are full, but you must not put any in your vessel. (23:25) | Ki Tavo Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. (28:5) | Nitsavim For this commandment that I command you this day, it is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. (30:11) | Va-yelech The Lord said to Moses: The time is drawing near for you to die. Call Joshua and present yourselves in the Tent of Meeting, that I may instruct him…. (31:14) | Ha’azinu May my discourse come down as the rain…. (33:2) | Ve-zo’t Ha-berakhah He buried him in the valley of the land of Moab, near Beth-peor; and no one knows his burial place to this day. (34:6)
"The Torah begins and ends with acts of loving kindness."
– Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 14aTake me to the Torah Morsels Archive