Opening the Book

This “Opening the Book” blog series is designed to include four approaches — or, “openings” — to each portion in the annual Torah-reading cycle. There are many sites offering full-fledged dvrei Torah (words of Torah). The posts here are more open-ended, offering sources and paths, rather than completed thoughts, to facilitate further exploration…and encourage readers to draw their own conclusions. Comments — and additional sources, paths, etc. — are welcome.

This series began with “Bamidbar,” the first portion in the book of Bamidbar/Numbers and progressed through the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy and, with the new (5770) reading cycle, Breishit/Genesis and Shemot/Exodus. Posts for Vayikra/Leviticus are being created week by week.

Posts fall into four categories: Something to NOTICE, Great SOURCEs, A PATH to Follow and LANGUAGE and translation. See descriptions below.

Books referenced are listed in Source Materials, with on-line links included. Additional pages of on-line materials are also accessible from Source Materials.

Preparing a Dvar Torah

The following posts were developed for those seeking assistance, more specifically, in preparing for a dvar Torah, or researching an “opening”:

Torah: Pursuing Connections
Sacrifice and Womb: Pursuing Connections
Unintentional Soul-Fail: Pursuing Connections

The “Pursuing Connections” series was developed in conjunction with a Jewish Study Center class on “Giving a Dvar Torah” and in gratitude to Fabrangen Havurah, which encourages every participant to share and develop their Torah thoughts.

Four Approaches/Openings

SOMETHING TO NOTICE: One post for each weekly portion draws attention to verses that have been the source of an interesting teaching, raised an ethical question, inspired traditional prayer language or contemporary meditations, etc. These notes can be found by clicking on “Notice” in the tag cloud to the right. E.g., Korach: Something to Notice
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GREAT SOURCES: Each week, one post suggests sources for exploring more about a specific Torah portion or an approach to Torah — traditional rabbinic, mystical, contemporary poetry, etc.; these can be found by clicking “Source” in the tag cloud. E.g., Breishit: Great Source(s)
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A PATH TO FOLLOW: For each portion, one post provides some links to other verses, threads of commentary, etc., for those interested in pursuing an idea beyond the weekly reading. These are located by clicking “Path” in the tag cloud. E.g., Balak: A Path to Follow
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LANGUAGE and TRANSLATION: Posts found by clicking “Language” in the tag cloud offer commentaries that are specifically based on translation and language issues. Some are pretty basic; others, rather esoteric. All are meant to provide a little deeper understanding of the text and/or of translation issues. E.g., Ve-zot Ha-Berakhah: Language and Translation
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Click on the “WeeklyTorah” tag for more resources on the weekly portion throughout the year, or on a portion name for parashah-specific notes. Here is more detail about the impetus for the series: Introduction


The “Opening the Book” series is presented in cooperation with the independent, cross-community Jewish Study Center and with Kol Isha, an open group pursuing spirituality from a woman’s perspective at Temple Micah (Reform). “A Song Every Day” is an independent blog, however, and all views, mistakes, etc. are the author’s.

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