David Shneyer Writings

Parshiot, Nitzavim-VaYelech

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we are treated to two very short Parshiot, Nitzavim-VaYelech, that are filled with wonderful teachings and guidance for the days ahead. Nitzavim begins with Moses telling the people “You are all standing here today before the Source of Life, the Giver of Life, YHVH, your […]

Parsha Shoftim – “Judges”

It’s pretty amazing how in sync this Parsha, Shoftim, is with what’s going on in our country today. Shoftim means “Judges.” From Deuteronomy 16:18 – 20. “You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities that the Eternal, your God, is giving you, for […]

A Trip to Israel and Beginning of Deuteronomy

In a few hours I leave for Israel. Needless to say, I’m a little nervous about the trip, flying, and being in Israel at a time when there is so much tension in the country and the West Bank. I’m also excited about learning more. I’ll be spending about half […]

Parshat Chuckat and Mystery and Meaning

Parshat Chukat is filled with mystery and meaning. It begins with God’s instruction to Moses and Aaron to tell the people to sacrifice a red heifer that is free from blemish (nearly impossible to find), and which has never been yoked. Its ashes are then to be used in a […]

Yom HaAtzmaut — Israel’s 75th Anniversary

This month of Iyar is also filled with other special days. Today is Yom HaAtzmaut, the State of Israel’s 75th anniversary. This year we are experiencing greater divisions amongst our people. Many Jewish communities, given the struggles over the past several months between anti-democratic forces and those who are fighting […]

Haftarah of Pesach

As we leave Pesach, I just wanted to share with you a major focus of these last one or two days. The words from Isaiah lay out a vision for Messianic time, a world of harmoniousness between peoples, animals, and the earth. This future vision has also been compared to […]

Liberation from Bondage for Today’s World

We note in the Mishna, some 2000 years ago, how Rabbi Gamliel and his colleagues gave structure to the Seder. In fact, the traditional Haggadah from the early Middle Ages opens with several sages planning the revolt against Rome. The purpose of the Seder was to recount our own liberation […]

Parsha Tzav and Building Spiritual & Social Harmony

Last week the Book of Numbers, VaYikra, opened with animal sacrifices and how animals and other kinds of offerings were intended to draw the people closer (korban) to God and to each other. This week’s Parsha, Tzav, continues the focus on offerings, as a means to building spiritual and social […]

Establishment of the Mishkan

This past Shabbat we concluded the Book of Exodus with establishment of the Mishkan, the sacred structure. So, what now? Can the Israelites now, continue on their journey to the Land of Promise? Our Torah authors and sages let us know that there is a profound need that must be […]

Shabbat Zachor and Purim

This Shabbat is known as the Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath of Remembrance. Since it is the Sabbath preceding Purim, the special Haftarah, a reading from the Prophets, recalls how Samuel instructs Saul to “strike down Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, killing every man, women and child, ox […]