Monthly Archives: October 2012

Parshat Lech Lecha

In Chapter 15 of Bereishit (Genesis) God tells Avram that his reward will be ‘exceedingly great.’ Avram responds with his concern — what is the point if he has no one to inherit his lot? Hashem responds in Pasuk 5:

And He took him outside, and He said, “Please look heavenward and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So will be your seed.”

Rav Eliezer Chrysler explains that the Gematriah (numerical value) of the Hebrew word ‘Koh’ (“so”) is twenty-five. ‘Kaf’ is twenty and ‘Heh’ is five. This served as a hint that Avram’s son Yitzchak would be born in twenty-five years. Avram was seventy-five at the this time and Yitzchak was born when he was a hundred years old. And of course Yitzchak is also the father of the future Klal Yisrael.

Speaking of stars, Rabbi Feigenbaum mentioned something that Rav Pam had said about the subject. All stars give off light but some light needs more time to travel as they’re farther away. He used this to explain that children develop at their own pace and their light sometimes develop at a later and different stage. The most important thing to remember, Rabbi Feigenbaum said, is patience.

In honour of looking heavenward and counting the stars…

And He took him outside, and He said, “Please look heavenward and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So will be your seed.”

Star Cookies

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash salt

Directions:

  • Mix margarine, sugar, vanilla, and egg. Place flour on top. Sprinkle baking soda, baking powder on flour and gently stir flour. Add salt and mix the batter together.
  • Bake at 375 for eight minutes.
  • When cooled pour melted chocolate chips and white chocolate on top.

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos!

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Parshat Noach

This week’s Parsha includes an accounting of the story of Noach and the flood. The Parsha also tells us about the ‘Keshet B’Anan’ – the bow in the cloud. The rainbow acts as a sign of God’s promise – He will not destroy the world again. There are some questions concerning the rainbow though…

If rainbows are a natural phenomenon resulting from the reflection of light in water droplets in the  Earth’s atmosphere, than surely this would have occurred before the flood. If that’s the case – than how could the rainbow suddenly become a sign?

There is some disagreement about this issue among the commentaries. The Ibn Ezra holds that God only created the rainbow after the flood. The Ramban holds that the rainbows existed before the flood but was only assigned as a sign of God’s promise not to destroy the world after the Mabul. According to the Kli Yakar, rainbows did indeed exist before the Mabul (flood) but they weren’t really noticed very much. After the Mabul however, the rainbow assumed  critical significance because they understood the consequences of their sinning. So when they did Aveiros (sins) they were reassured by the rainbow that God wouldn’t destroy the world.

It does seem interesting that this Parsha comes so close to the Yamim Noraim (High Holydays) when God invites us to return to Him and assures us that any step toward Teshuvah will be welcomed. It’s a sign of reassurance in a time of reassurance.

In honour of the ‘Keshet B’Anan’ – the rainbow – I’ve done two rainbow recipes:

9:13 My rainbow I have placed in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Myself and the earth.

 

Bereishit 9:14 And it shall come to pass, when I cause clouds to come upon the earth, that the rainbow will appear

 

Here’s another one – I used 1 1’2 tubs of vanilla yogurt mixed with gel colours. Place each layer in the freezer for ten minutes before pouring on the next one. It’s a bit labour-intensive but isn’t this gorgeous!

Bereishit 9:16 And the rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will see it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and between every living creature among all flesh, which is on the earth

B’Tayavon and have a great Shabbos!

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Parshat Bereishit

Happy new year. Or as my dad says, ‘you should have a good Kvittel.’

This week’s Parsha tells us about the beginning of our world. In 1905 Rav Kook was already dealing with the question of evolution, science, and the geological age of the world. His letter, written in Jaffa, appears in  Igrot HaRe’iyah and offers four basic arguments.

  1. Prior to our counting of our era there were worlds that God had created and destroyed. (Midrash Bereishit Rabbah 3:7) The Zohar (Vayikra 10a) also states that other species existed beside Adam of the Torah.
  2. Scientific theories are not absolute and subsequent research can result in their discrediting or disproving.
  3. In Melachim Aleph 6:2 it refers to “the house that King Solomon built.” This does not include the process of  building the Beit Hamikdash whereby consultants, architects, designers, craftsmen, and workers actually put it together. As Rav Kook says: So too, if God created life via the laws of evolution, these are details irrelevant to the Torah’s central message, namely, the ethical teaching of a world formed and governed by an involved Creator.
  4. The Torah reveals the story of creation in a way that is almost impossible to decipher. According to Rav Kook: Creation — which the mystics refer to as Ma’aseh Bereishit — clearly belongs to the esoteric part of Torah (see Chaggigah 11b).

Whether the six days of creation represent days, eras, or epochs, the unit of seven is a standard one in the organization of the world and of Torah. Seven days of the week correspond to seven  years of Shmittah and seven Shmittahs of the Yovel (Jubilee year.)

In honour of the number seven here’s a seven layered salad that would be perfect for Seudat Shlishi – the Third Meal.

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos!

Genesis 2:2 And God completed on the seventh day His work that He did, and He abstained on the seventh day from all His work that He did.

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Chag Samayach!

Many apologies for disappearing since Tisha B’Av.

I’ve been so busy taking care of other stuff. My professional writing has taken up more and more of my time so I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus and will resume blogging Parshas Bereishis. I hope. *fingers crossed*  I miss blogging Torah Portions because I loved being so incredibly connected to each week’s Torah reading through the development of my Parsha recipes. So please stay tuned and come back for the new cycle of Torah reading for Parsha insights and recipes.

In the meantime, have an awesome Chag Shukkot!

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