This Week's Torah Portion | Parsha Of The Week | Aleph Beta

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Parsha of the week: Parshat Behar

Parsha Date:

May 25, 2024

Torah Verses:

Leviticus 25:1–26:2
play buttonThe Spiritual Meaning Of The Sabbath And Jubilee Years

More Videos on Parshat Behar

Printable Learning Guides

Behar: Why Does Land Have To Rest?

101 Guide

A printable parsha guide for our Behar video, "Why Does Land Have To Rest?"

view guide

Behar: Walking With God

101 Guide

A printable parsha guide for our Behar video, "Behar - Walking With God."

view guide

Parsha Calendar & List:
Torah Portion By Date For 2024

Use the tool below to discover the full list of Torah Portions for the coming year, with links to videos and guides.

book

Genesis

We begin the Book of Bereishit with the amazing creation of the world. Reading Genesis takes us on a journey through the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, where we witness the birth of the future 12 tribes of Israel. We read about sibling rivalry, deceit, betrayal and love affairs – all provoking questions that apply to our lives today.

Parsha

Torah Verses

Parsha Date

Bereshit

Genesis 1:1–6:8

October 26, 2024

Noach

Genesis 6:9–11:32

November 2, 2024

Lech Lecha

Genesis 12:1–17:27

November 9, 2024

Vayera

Genesis 18:1–22:24

November 16, 2024

Chayei Sarah

Genesis 23:1–Genesis 25:18

November 23, 2024

Toldot

Genesis 25:19–28:9

November 30, 2024

Vayetze

Genesis 28:10–32:3

December 7, 2024

Vayishlach

Genesis 32:4–36:43

December 2, 2023

Vayeshev

Genesis 37:1–40:23

December 9, 2023

Miketz

Genesis 41:1–44:17

December 16, 2023

Vayigash

Genesis 44:18–47:27

December 23, 2023

Vayechi

Genesis 47:28–50:26

December 30, 2023

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Frequently Asked Questions

“Torah” can take on different meanings, depending on the context. Generally, Torah refers to the first books of the Bible, known as the Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy – and often encompasses rabbinic commentaries as well (perushim).

In Rabbinic literature, Torah is often used to refer to both the Five Books ( תורה שבכתב‎; “Torah that is written“) and Oral Torah (תורה שבעל פה, “Torah that is spoken“). The word Torah translates to “instruction,“ and in its broadest sense, some people may even use it to refer to the full Tanakh or the whole body of Jewish teachings and law.

The Torah makes up the first section of the Tanach – the Hebrew Bible, or what Christianity refers to as the Old Testament. Tanach is an acronym referring to its three parts: Torah, Nevi’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings).

The words of the Torah are traditionally handwritten in Hebrew by a scribe (sofer) on a parchment scroll. These scrolls are read from in synagogue services, broken up into separate Torah portions to spread the readings over the course of a year. Public Torah readings are at the heart of Jewish communal life.

The Five Books of Moses are divided into 54 portions (Parshiyot), linked to a specific week in a leap year. In non-leap years, with fewer weeks, some shorter Torah portion readings are combined into one week. Each weekly Torah portion takes its name from the first word or distinctive phrase of the passage. The Torah is divided into portions of two to six chapters each week, with added corresponding readings from the Prophets (Haftarah portions). The Torah reading cycle starts after the Feast of Tabernacles, with Genesis 1:1, and finishes with the last verses of Deuteronomy around 12 months later. Jewish communities celebrate the annual completion of the Torah reading with a holiday known as Simchat Torah or “Rejoicing in the Law.”

The Torah is divided into portions of two to six chapters each week, with added corresponding readings from the Prophets (Haftarah portions). The Torah reading cycle starts after the Feast of Tabernacles, with Genesis 1:1, and finishes with the last verses of Deuteronomy around 12 months later. Jewish communities celebrate the annual completion of the Torah reading with a holiday known as Simchat Torah or “Rejoicing in the Law.”

After God saved the Israelites from captivity and restored the Jewish nation, Ezra the scribe wanted to ensure their people would not fall off the wagon again, as we read about in the Book of Nehemia, so he created a system to ensure we would read the text of the Torah each week at synagogue. Thousands of years later, Jewish communities all around the world still study the same portion of the Torah in unity.

An aliyah, עליה, is the honor of being called to read a blessing over a segment of the Torah. In synagogue, members from the congregation are chosen to go up to the bimah (podium) and recite two blessings (one before the reading, and one after) to thank God for the Torah.

Haftarah portions – or Haftoroh in Ashkenazic, or “Concluding Portion” – are selections from the books of Nevi’im (Prophets) of the Hebrew Bible. They are also publicly read – rather, sung or chanted – in synagogue services, following the Torah reading each Sabbath, holidays and fast days. There is usually a thematic link to the weekly Parsha.

Jewish communities read the relevant Torah portion aloud in synagogues on Sabbaths, as part of the prayer service. The first section of the Torah portion is also read on Mondays and Thursday mornings, an origin that stems from older days, when rural people would go to town to visit the market on those days.

On Saturday afternoons, Mondays, and Thursdays, the start of the next week’s portion is read. Special Torah portion readings are also associated with Jewish holidays, Rosh Chodesh and fast days. A Torah reading generally refers to the whole service, including the grand removing and replacing of the scrolls in the Torah Ark.