Covenant & Conversation

“I have called these studies Covenant & Conversation because this, for me, is the essence of what Torah learning is – throughout the ages, and for us, now. The text of Torah is our covenant with God… The interpretation of this text has been the subject of an ongoing conversation for as long as Jews have studied the Divine word… Every age has added its commentaries, and so must ours.” – Rabbi Sacks

Pacing Change

knitting the journey path unfishined stitches in time ancient tapestery creating making trail pacing change edited 1

Read this week's featured Covenant & Conversation piece, chosen from the series of Rabbi Sacks' commentary essays and videos on the Torah originally written and recorded in 2011.

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Bereishit (Genesis)

torah book genesis bereishit

Genesis, the book of Bereshit, is as its name suggests, about beginnings: the birth of the universe, the origins of humanity, and the first chapters in the story of the people that would be known as Israel or (after the Babylonian exile) the Jews.

Shemot (Exodus)

torah book exodus shermot

The book of Exodus - Shemot - is the West’s meta-narrative of hope. It tells an astonishing story of how a group of slaves were liberated from the mightiest empire of the ancient world. Theologically, its message is even more revolutionary: the supreme power intervenes in history in defence of the powerless.

Vayikra (Leviticus)

torah book leviticus vayikra

In Vayikra, the book of Leviticus, God sets out the mystery and majesty of holiness, summoning the people with whom He covenanted to a life driven by its energy, lit by its radiance, transformed by its alignment with the will and word of its Creator.

Bamidbar (Numbers)

torah book numbers bamidbar

The central theme of Bamidbar, the book of Numbers, is the second stage of the Israelites’ journey: physically from Egypt to the Promised Land, mentally from slavery to freedom. It is among the most searching, self-critical books in all of literature about what Nelson Mandela called “the long walk to freedom.”

Devarim (Deuteronomy)

torah book deuteronomy devarim q90

With the book of Deuteronomy, Devarim, the entire biblical project becomes lucid and reaches its culmination. Deuteronomy is the last act of the Jewish people’s drama before becoming a nation in its own land, and it forms the context of all that follows.