Into the Verse is dedicated to bringing you Torah that is timely and relevant to your life. Using the weekly parsha and the Jewish calendar as inspiration, this podcast is filled with rich and uplifting insights based on analysis of the Hebrew text itself. Take a listen and enjoy!
MARCH 21, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 47
Vayikra: The How-To Guide for a Relationship with God
We’re starting Sefer Vayikra this week! But if we’re honest, Leviticus isn’t the easiest book to be excited about.
MARCH 14, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 46
Vayakhel-Pekudei: God’s Shabbat and Our Shabbat
Observing the Sabbath involves rules about a long list of actions, from cleaning to writing to making things with our hands, and more!
MARCH 08, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 45
Ki Tisa: The Golden Calf... How Did We Get Here?
Parshat Ki Tisa has one of the all-time low points in the Torah. The Israelites just received the Torah back in Parshat Yitro. All they need to do now is wait for Moses to finish up a bit of paperwork with God. But when he doesn't come back right away, they go to Aaron and ask him to... make them a golden calf.
FEBRUARY 28, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 44
Purim: How to Stand Before the King
There's a saying that Purim has a lot in common with a certain other Jewish holiday. But unlike Purim, that other holiday isn’t exactly known for parties, costumes, and sweet treats. No, it’s Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and atonement. So where’s the similarity?
FEBRUARY 21, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 43
Terumah: God's Home and the Secret of Creation
Parshat Terumah kicks off the "not so exciting" section of the Torah all about the detailed construction of the mishkan (tabernacle). But what if those details contain the secret key to understanding one of the greatest questions facing any 21st-century believer: How do we reconcile the creation story in Genesis with everything we know about modern physics and the Big Bang?
FEBRUARY 14, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 42
Mishpatim: Does Justice Care About Our Intentions?
Parshat Mishpatim tells us what should happen if people get hurt because of someone else's actions – fighting, stealing, keeping dangerous animals around the house. In each case, the Torah explains what should happen to the offender, but what's interesting is that the same injury doesn’t always carry the same penalty. Sometimes it depends on the person's intentions: Were they actually planning to cause the harm or not?
FEBRUARY 07, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 41
Yitro: The View from the Eagles’ Wings
Parshat Yitro includes the Revelation at Mount Sinai, one of the most dramatic moments in the Torah. But this week on Into the Verse, we zoom in on a moment shortly before that, one that’s easy to miss. God gives Moses instructions for the Israelites, so they can get ready for the giving of the Torah. And what’s the first thing God wants them to keep in mind, on the brink of this historic moment? God says, “Tell the children of Israel: You saw what I did to the Egyptians, how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.”
JANUARY 31, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 40
Beshalach: What Is Belief In God?
Parshat Beshalach tells the story of the end of the Exodus and the crossing of the Red Sea.
JANUARY 24, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 39
Bo: Should We Stay or Should We Go?
Parshat Bo is where the Exodus really happens. God sends the last plagues and tells the Israelites to prepare for liberation, and on the night of the tenth plague, Pharaoh finally gives the order: Leave now. But just when the Israelites are gearing up to get out of Egypt, there are a few details that seem to slow the action down. For one thing, there are God’s instructions: “Get your shoes on, be ready to leave… but don’t walk out of your houses!” And for another, God specifically picks a longer road out of Egypt, because the other one is “nearby.” What should we make of these strange facts?
JANUARY 17, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 38
Va’era: God As Our Shepherd
In this week's parsha, God introduces Himself to Moses as YHVH, but then He says something surprising: "I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as Kel-Shakai, but My name of YHVH, I didn't make known to them." If we have been reading the Torah up to this point, we will have heard the name YHVH countless times! So what does God mean by saying that the forefathers only knew Him as Kel-Shakai?
JANUARY 10, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 37
Shemot: How One Family Saved a Nation
In Parshat Shemot, we hear about the early life of Moses: How his mother put him into the Nile as a baby, how he was raised in Pharaoh’s house, how he fled from Egypt… and how God sent him back to lead the Israelites out of slavery. But there’s one detail that’s easy to miss in all the drama. God tells Moses at the burning bush: “Your brother Aaron is coming to meet you, and he is rejoicing in his heart.”
JANUARY 01, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 36
Asara B’Tevet: Why do we fast?
Why is the Fast of Asara B'Tevet significant today? The 17th of Tammuz, 9th of Av, and Tzom Gedaliah all commemorate conquest, destruction, exile, and the downfall of a kingdom. They're horrible, and of course we mourn those days. But on the 10th of Tevet, we’re remembering when the Babylonian armies surrounded the walls of Jerusalem… and then waited… for two and a half years.
DECEMBER 27, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 35
Vayigash: Jacob's Separation Anxiety
Parshat Vayigash opens at a very tense moment. Joseph’s brothers are standing in front of him, not knowing who he is. All they know is that this powerful Egyptian official has threatened to keep Benjamin in Egypt as his slave. So Judah steps forward to plead for returning Benjamin to their father… and Joseph bursts into tears and reveals his identity to them. The long separation from his family is finally over. But have you ever wondered how things got so bad in the first place? Why Jacob favored Joseph and Benjamin so much that his other sons were consumed by jealousy, even selling Joseph into slavery?
DECEMBER 18, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 34
Hanukkah: How Is This Winter Holiday Different From All Other Winter Holidays?
Does it make you feel uncomfortable when Hanukkah gets lumped together with all the other “winter holidays”? It can be hard to see Hanukkah’s any different when the Hanukkah and Christmas lights all get blurred together. But if that’s not enough to make it difficult to appreciate Hanukkah’s uniqueness, there are even some historians who want to claim that Hanukkah is actually nothing more than the Jewish version, not of Christmas, but of an earlier Pagan winter solstice festival. And… are you ready for this?... The Rabbis of the Talmud seem to support that claim!
DECEMBER 13, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 33
Vayeshev: Rashi’s Uncomfortable Critique of Joseph
Remember when Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt, and he asked one of his buddies to put in a good word for him with Pharaoh, hoping he might get sprung from jail? Well, some commentators seem not to take too kindly to Joseph’s tactic. Rashi, quoting our Sages, explains that because Joseph did that, God delayed his liberation from prison for two full years.
DECEMBER 06, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 32
Vayishlach: Conflict and Reconciliation
Jacob and Esau haven’t seen each other for 20 years, ever since Jacob took their father’s blessings and Esau threatened to kill him. Now they’re headed toward one another – Jacob with his family and his riches, and Esau with 400 of his henchmen. Jacob’s got so many things on his mind at this moment: Keeping his family safe. Placating his brother. Using his wits to get out of the situation without making things worse. That’s the best he can hope to achieve, right? Or… is it? Could Jacob have actually had a shred of hope for reconciliation?
NOVEMBER 29, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 31
Vayetze: A Ladder, Angels, and a Godly Mission
Parshat Vayetze opens with Jacob on the run, experiencing a dream with angels on a ladder. Jacob’s ladder, with its angels ascending and descending, is probably one of the most iconic images in all of Genesis. It’s so iconic, we can miss a basic question about it - and that is - why is it actually here? Does the ladder add something to this vision? Why is it here at all?
NOVEMBER 22, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 30
Toldot: Who Cares About Isaac's Wells?
This week’s parsha contains the only story in the Torah in which the patriarch Isaac takes center stage. No, it’s not the Akeidah (that was mostly about Abraham), and it’s not the story about the blessing of the firstborn (that story is really about Jacob and Esav).
NOVEMBER 15, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 29
Chayei Sarah: A Princess for All Time
Parshat Chayei Sarah begins with the death of our matriarch, Sarah. In this week’s episode, Rabbi Fohrman reflects on her impact and finds a clue to the lasting legacy of Sarah’slifeby looking, in all places, at the Torah’s description of herdeath.That clue hinges on a seemingly technical fact found in the parsha’s opening verse: the number of years Sarah happened to live, 127.
NOVEMBER 08, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 28
Vayera: Can Sparing the Wicked Be... Justice?
Parshat Vayera includes one of the Torah’s most memorable conversations: God and Abraham negotiating about whether God will destroy the city of Sodom. But there’sanotherfascinating conversation right before that one.
NOVEMBER 01, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 27
Lech Lecha: The Seeds of Abraham’s Legacy
This parsha is full of little vignettes about Abraham’s life, and it feels like a bunch of random episodes of “A Day in the Life of Abraham.” Is there some central theme here that can teach us why God chose Abraham to be the father of a great nation?
OCTOBER 25, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 26
Noach: How Do We Reconcile Science and Torah?
Why doesn’t the Torah ever mention dinosaurs or other prehistoric creatures? Does this mean that according to the Torah there were no dinosaurs? Is this a sign that the Bible doesn't match up with history and science?
OCTOBER 15, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 25
Bereishit: Unlocking the Path to the Tree of Life
The Torah tells us about how the universe was created — light, darkness, sky, plants, animals, people — but it doesn’t tell us why. Why did God create the world, and particularly human beings within it? What is our purpose on this earth? How can we achieve ultimate meaning in life?
OCTOBER 06, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 24
Sukkot: Why Do We Take the Lulav and Etrog?
The holiday of Sukkot brings us one of the stranger Jewish customs: Carrying the “four species” of plants around, waving them in all directions as we pray.
OCTOBER 02, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 22 | Part 2
Bonus Episode: Fear on the High Holidays
In this specialbonus episodeImu and Rabbi Fohrman discuss a challenge, raised by a listener just like you, to a previous episode.
OCTOBER 02, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 23
Yom Kippur: It's Not All About Forgiveness
Yom Kippur: It’s one of the most significant days of the whole year. We go into this day hoping for some weighty things… forgiveness, a chance to be a better version of ourselves.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 22
Rosh Hashanah: Should We Be Afraid of ‘Judgment Day’?
Rosh Hashanah – it’sYom Hadin, the Day of Judgment, right? God is going to judge the whole world and decide its fate for the coming year. And our job is to search our hearts, confront our misdeeds from the past, and doteshuvah, repentance. Sounds like a big responsibility!
SEPTEMBER 06, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 21
Ki Tetzei: Sending Away the Mother Bird
Parshat Ki Tetzei tells us that if we find a nest with eggs or baby birds in it, we have to send away the mother bird before we’re allowed to take her young. That certainly sounds as if the Torah wants us to treat animals humanely… but how exactly does it help the mother bird?
AUGUST 30, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 20
Shoftim: How To Lead a Life Worth Living
How can we live a meaningful life? In this episode of Into the Verse, Rabbi Fohrman finds an answer in an unlikely section of Parshat Shoftim: the Israelites’ pre-battle protocols, when the officers exempt various soldiers from fighting. Join Rabbi Fohrman as he explores these military exemptions, their fascinating parallels to elsewhere in the Torah, and what they show us about leading a life worth living.
AUGUST 23, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 19
Re’eh: Why Does Judaism Need the Written Law and Oral Law?
Everyone knows it’s not kosher when you cook meat and milk together, but the Torah in this week’s parsha only says you can’t cook a baby goat in its mother’s milk. This law gets extended to all cooking of milk and meat in the Oral Law.
AUGUST 16, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 18
Eikev: What Does God Want from Us?
In Parshat Eikev, Moses boils down, into a short, sweet list, what God really wants from us in this world. But, when the prophet Micah comes along and offers a different version, the clarity in God’s expectations gets muddied…or does it? Join Rabbi Fohrman in this episode of Into the Verse as he explores the different “cliff notes” versions of what God asks of us and helps us gain clarity on how we can be the good person God wants us to be.
AUGUST 09, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 17
Va'etchanan: Why Repeat Stories?
Parshat Va’etchanan tells the story of receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. But wait… Haven’t we heard this story before? Why does the book of Devarim repeat this story along with so many others?
AUGUST 02, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 16
Tisha B’Av: Reflecting on Tisha B’Av with Rabbi Fohrman
Rabbi Fohrman, Imu Shalev, and Tikva Hecht reflect on ten years of Aleph Beta Tisha B’Av videos. They discuss the lessons they have learned over the years about the meaning and nature of Tisha B’Av, and also review their personal favorite videos, and where to get started if you are new.
JULY 26, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 15
Matot-Masei: The Art of Negotiation
How do you succeed in a tough negotiation? At the beginning of this week’s parsha, the tribes of Gad and Reuben come to Moses with a really big ask. Just as the nation of Israel is about to enter and inherit the Land – in other words, at a moment that calls for the utmost unity and cooperation – these two tribes have a totally different plan for themselves! And perhaps even more surprisingly, Moses consents to their request.
JULY 19, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 14
Pinchas: The Daughters of Zelophehad
In Parshat Pinchas, we read about the daughters of Zelophehad, who seek to inherit their father’s land. God declares that their claim is correct, not only granting their request but also codifying it into law. This story isn’t just heartwarming – it’s also intriguingly similar to the Pesach Sheni story from earlier in the Book of Numbers. But what could land inheritance and the Passover offering have to do with each other?
JULY 12, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 13
The 17th of Tammuz: How Is the 17th of Tammuz Relevant Today?
Shiva Asar B'Tammuz is a fast day that marks the beginning of the Three Weeks, a period of intense mourning that culminates with Tisha B'Av, the day the Temple was destroyed. Twice in our national history foreign armies broke through the walls of the holy city of Jerusalem on this day. Yet, it is much more than the start of an extended mourning period for the Temple.
JULY 05, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 12
Chukat: Why Do We Need a Red Heifer?
The laws of the red heifer in Parshat Chukat are notoriously difficult to explain. Why does the Torah require its ashes to be mixed with water? How does this water “purify” those who have come into contact with death? Is there anything we can still learn from this ancient ritual? And one more question: Is there a reason why the heifer needs to be red?
JUNE 28, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 11
Korach: Why Did Korach Rebel?
What was really motivating Korach? Was it idealism, jealousy, thirst for power?
JUNE 21, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 10
Shelach: The Spies and Echoes From the Past
In Parshat Shelach, we read the story of the spies who ventured to the land of Israel and brought back a false report to the Israelites. Have you ever noticed that their report is strikingly similar to another story from earlier in the Torah?
JUNE 14, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 9
Beha’alotcha: What started the Israelites’ downward spiral?
In Parshat Beha’alotcha, we see the beginning of the dramatic downfall of the generation of the exodus. This dive leads, eventually, to 40 years of wandering in the desert and death to the entire generation. What happened?
JUNE 07, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 8
Naso: What Are the Laws of Sotah Really About?
Parshat Naso speaks of the sotah – the "wayward woman" – who has been accused of committing adultery.
MAY 24, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 7 | Part 1
Part 1 Why Isn't Our Version of Shavuot in the Torah?
(Part 1 of 2) If you were asked what we remember on Shavuot, what would you say? The giving of the Torah, right?
MAY 24, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 7 | Part 2
Part 2 Why Isn't Our Version of Shavuot in the Torah?
(Part 2 of 2) If you were asked what we remember on Shavuot, what would you say? The giving of the Torah, right? But the Biblical commandment to celebrate Shavuot doesn’t even mention receiving the Torah!
MAY 17, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 6
Lag Ba’Omer: Who Was Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai
Lag BaOmer: It’s a day for celebrations… parties, music, bonfires, barbecues. What exactly are we celebrating, though?
MAY 10, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 5
Emor: Why Does Creativity Need Boundaries?
Parshat Emor includes a familiar passage known as the parshat hamo’adim – the section of the Torah that describes all of the Biblical holidays. But there are two major interruptions in this passage, two things that just don't seem to belong.
MAY 03, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 4
Kedoshim: Social Justice... and Sacrifices?
How can we make sense of the laws in Parshat Kedoshim? They seem to deal with such a mix of unrelated topics. Some of them are obviously about moral behavior: Don’t steal, don’t deceive people, leave some of the grain in your field for the poor.
APRIL 26, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 3
What’s So Meaningful About Counting the Omer?
Of all God's commandments, counting the "omer," the days between Passover and Shavuot, seems kind of... well, like a trip back to kindergarten. Does God really think that if we don't count the days leading up to Shavuot, we would simply forget about it? And if that's the case, then why not have countdowns, or count-ups, before every major holiday?
APRIL 18, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 2
Miriam’s Song at the Sea
The splitting of the Reed Sea was so miraculous that the Jewish people celebrated by singing a Song to God. And yet, immediately after the nation sings, Miriam then sings...another song? Why would Miriam do that?
APRIL 10, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 1 | Part 1
The Three Lies of the Exodus, Part 1
(Part 1 of 2) At the burning bush, God told Moses to show the people of Israel three signs, so they would believe that God was in fact with them. Was there any significance to these three signs, or did God randomly select them? And were the signs even effective?
APRIL 10, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 1 | Part 2
The Three Lies of the Exodus, Part 2
(Part 2 of 2) At the burning bush, God told Moses to show the people of Israel three signs, so they would believe that God was in fact with them. Was there any significance to these three signs, or did God randomly select them? And were the signs even effective?
APRIL 06, 2022
Season 1 | Episode 1
Into the Verse: Trailer
Into the Verse is dedicated to bringing you Torah that is timely and relevant to your life.