Torah Sparks

United Synagogue (USCJ) is proud and delighted to bring you Torah Sparks, with insights and learning materials on the Parasha (Torah portion) of the week. Torah Sparks is produced by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Each week there will be a Dvar Torah - a discussion on some aspect of the reading, by CY faculty, alumni and friends; a Vort - a short thought from Chasidic rebbes or other thinkers about some point in the text; and Table Talk - questions to stimulate discussion on the Parsha around the Shabbat table. Torah Sparks is available here on the Conservative Yeshiva's Shiurim Online Beit Midrash website, as well as by subscription to weekly graphical emails. Please select the Parasha you would like to see - it will display articles from each year. A printable PDF is linked at the end of each week's presentation.


Menahot, Chapter 5, Mishnah 5

Menahot, Chapter Five, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah begins to note which minhahs must be brought to the altar (see Leviticus 2:8, 6:7), which have to be waved, which require one and not the other, and which require both. “Bringing near” refers to bringing the minhah close to the southwestern corner of the altar […]

Menahot, Chapter 5, Mishnah 6

Menahot, Chapter Five, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      These require waving but not bringing near: a)      The log of oil of the leper and his guilt-offering, b)      The first fruits, according to Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov, c)      The innards of an individual’s shelamim and its breast and thigh, whether they are the offerings of […]

Menahot, Chapter 5, Mishnah 7

Menahot, Chapter Five, Mishnah Seven   Introduction In this mishnah Rabbi Shimon compares three sacrifices and three requirements, with each sacrifice requiring two of the three requirements. We should note that Rabbi Shimon seems more interested in the curious fact that three sacrifices can be compared in this manner than in the actual rules that […]

Menahot, Chapter 5, Mishnah 8

Menahot, Chapter Five, Mishnah Eight   Introduction Leviticus 7:9 mentions minhahs “prepared in a pan or on a griddle.” Our mishnah teaches the difference in how these two minhahs are prepared.   Mishnah Eight 1)      One who says, “I take upon myself [to offer a minhah] prepared on a griddle,” he must not bring one […]

Menahot, Chapter 5, Mishnah 9

Menahot, Chapter Five, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah continues to teach the differences between how different menahot (pl. of minhah) are prepared.   Mishnah Nine 1)      [If a man said,] “I take upon myself [to offer a minhah baked] in an oven,” he must not bring what is baked in a stove or on […]

Menahot, Chapter 6, Mishnah 1

Menahot, Chapter Six, Mishnah One   Introduction This chapter continues to teach general rules with regard to menahot. Today’s mishnah and tomorrow’s teaches which minhah has a handful removed and the rest eaten by the priests.   Mishnah One 1)      From the following menahot the handful must be taken and the remainder is for the […]

Menahot, Chapter 6, Mishnah 2

Menahot, Chapter Six, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah lists menahot that are either completely burned, or completely eaten.   Mishnah Two 1)      The minhah of the priests,   a)      The minhah of the anointed high priest, b)      And the minhah that is offered with the libations are [wholly] for the altar and the priests […]

Menahot, Chapter 6, Mishnah 3

Menahot, Chapter Six, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah teaches how the oil was put into the minhah.   Mishnah Three 1)      All menahot that are prepared in a vessel require three applications of oil: pouring, mixing and putting oil in the vessel, before they are completed.    2)      The [baked] cakes were mixed [with […]

Menahot, Chapter 6, Mishnah 4

Menahot, Chapter Six, Mishnah Four   Introduction Today’s mishnah teaches how menahot were broken into pieces once they were baked. This process is referred to in Leviticus 2:6, “Break it into bits and pour oil on it; it is a meal offereing.” Although this verse is stated specifically in reference to a minhah prepared on […]

Menahot, Chapter 6, Mishnah 5

Menahot, Chapter Six, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      All menahot must be rubbed three hundred times and beaten five hundred times. 2)      The rubbing and the beating apply is performed with the grains of wheat.   a)      Rabbi Yose says: also to the dough.   3)      All menahot consist of ten cakes each, except […]

Menahot, Chapter 6, Mishnah 6

Menahot, Chapter Six, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah teaches how much flour was found in various types of menahot.   Mishnah Six 1)      The omer consisted of one tenth [of an ephah of flour] taken from three se’ahs. 2)      The two loaves consisted of two tenths taken from three se’ahs. 3)      And the showbread […]

Menahot, Chapter 6, Mishnah 7

Menahot, Chapter Six, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah deals with how well the flour must be sifted for certain minhah offerings.   Mishnah Seven 1)      The omer was sifted through thirteen sieves, the two loaves through twelve, and the showbread through eleven.   2)      Rabbi Shimon says: there was no prescribed number for them, […]

Menahot, Chapter 7, Mishnah 1

Menahot, Chapter Seven, Mishnah One   Introduction This chapter deals with the rules regarding the loaves that accompany the thanksgiving offering, the “todah” (see Leviticus 7:12).   Mishnah One 1)      The todah required five Jerusalem seahs [of flour], which are six wilderness seahs;    2)      This is the equivalent to two ephahs, for an ephah […]

Menahot, Chapter 7, Mishnah 2

Menahot, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Two   Introduction Our mishnah deals with two other types of minhah offerings that are similar in amount to the todah: the “basket of matzot” brought on the day that the priests were first consecrated to serve in the Tabernacle (Leviticus 8:26) and the “basket of matzot” brought by the Nazirite […]

Menahot, Chapter 7, Mishnah 3

Menahot, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with situations in which the loaves that accompany the todah sacrifice are for various reasons not sanctified, meaning that they don’t attain the status of a sacrifice. If one were to make non-holy use of one of the loaves that had not been sanctified, he […]

Menahot, Chapter 7, Mishnah 4

Menahot, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      If a [minhah that is accompanied by] the libations had already been sanctified in a vessel when the animal-offering was found to be invalid: a)      If there is another animal-offering, they may be offered with it; b)      But if not, they are left to become invalid […]

Menahot, Chapter 7, Mishnah 5

Menahot, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah and the next deal with various laws governing one who vows to bring a todah sacrifice.   Mishnah Five 1)      One who says: “Behold I take upon myself [to bring] a todah”, he must bring both it and its bread from hullin. 2)      [If he said:] […]

Menahot, Chapter 7, Mishnah 6

Menahot, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Six   Introduction Today’s mishnah explains why one who says “I take upon myself to bring a todah” must buy the todah with hullin (non-sacred) money and cannot use maaser sheni money. This was the halakhah that we learned in yesterday’s mishnah.   Mishnah Six 1)      From where [is it derived] […]

Menahot, Chapter 8, Mishnah 1

Menahot, Chapter Eight, Mishnah One   Introduction Our mishnah deals with where they would bring flour from for the minhah offerings.   Mishnah One 1)      All the sacrifices communal or individual may be offered from [produce grown] in the Land [of Israel] or outside the Land, from new [produce] or from the old, except for […]

Menahot, Chapter 8, Mishnah 2

Menahot, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah discusses what kinds of fields are used to grow the grain to make flour for menahot.   Mishnah Two 1)      One may not bring [grain for menahot] from the produce of a manured field or from an irrigated field or from a field stocked with trees. […]

Menahot, Chapter 8, Mishnah 3

Menahot, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah discusses from where and from what they brought the olive oil used in the minhah offering.   Mishnah Three 1)      Tekoa is “alpha” first its oil. 2)      Abba Saul says: Second to it is Regev, on the other side of the Jordan. 3)      The [oil of […]

Menahot, Chapter 8, Mishnah 4

Menahot, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      There are three [periods of gathering in the] olives and each crop gives three kinds of oil.   2)      The first crop of olives is when the olives are picked from the top of the tree; they are pounded and put into the basket. a)      Rabbi […]

Menahot, Chapter 8, Mishnah 5

Menahot, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Five   Introduction Today’s mishnah is a continuation of yesterday’s. It explains the relative quality of the various pressings we learned about yesterday. Basically, the first crop yields better oil than the next two, and the first pressings of each crop are better than the others. If two types of oil […]

Menahot, Chapter 8, Mishnah 6

Menahot, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Six   Introduction Having already discussed grain and oil, our mishnah turns its attention to the next element of the minhah, the wine.   Mishnah Six 1)      From where did they bring the wine?  a)      Keruhim and Attulim rank are alpha their wine. b)      Second to them are Bet Rimmah and […]

Menahot, Chapter 8, Mishnah 7

Menahot, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with the quality of the wine used in the libations.   Mishnah Seven 1)      They did not put [the wine] in large casks but in small barrels. 2)      And one did not fill the barrels to the brim so that its scent might […]

Menahot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 1

Menahot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah One   Introduction The first five mishnayot of our chapter deal with the size of the measuring vessels used in the Temple.   Mishnah One 1)      There were two dry-measures in the Temple: the tenth and the half-tenth.     a)      Rabbi Meir says: a tenth, [another] tenth, and a half-tenth. 2)      […]

Menahot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 2

Menahot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      There were seven liquid measuring vessels in the Temple: the hin, the half-hin, the third-hin, the quarter-hin, the log, the half-log, and the quarter-log. 2)      Rabbi Eliezer bar Zadok says: there were markings in the hin measure [indicating] thus far for a bull, thus far for […]

Menahot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 3

Menahot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      For what purpose did the quarter-log serve? a)      [To measure] a quarter-log of water for the one with skin disease and a quarter-log of oil for the Nazirite.    2)      For what purpose did the half-log serve? a)      [To measure] a half-log of water for the […]

Menahot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 4

Menahot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      One may mix the drink-offerings of bulls with the drink-offerings of rams, or the drink-offerings of lambs with the drink-offerings of other lambs, or those of an individual offering with those of a communal offering, or those of [an offering offered] today with those of [an […]

Menahot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 5

Menahot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      All the measures in the Temple were heaped except [that used for] the high priest’s [minhah] which included in itself the heaped amount.   2)      The overflow of the liquid-measures was holy, but the overflow of the dry-measures was not holy.   a)      Rabbi Akiva says: […]

Menahot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 6

Menahot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah teaches that most sacrifices must be accompanied by the libations of wine, grain and oil that are mentioned in Numbers 15. Numbers 15 states, “When you enter the land that I am giving you to settle in and would present an offering by fire to the […]

Menahot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 7

Menahot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Seven   Introduction For some sacrifices the person offering the sacrifice must lay his hands on the sacrifice before it is slaughtered. Our mishnah teaches which sacrifices require the laying on of the hands and which do not.   Mishnah Seven 1)      None of the communal offerings require the laying on […]

Menahot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 8

Menahot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Eight   Introduction Today’s mishnah continues to teach laws regarding the laying of the hands on the sacrifice.   Mishnah Eight 1)      All lay hands on the offering except a deaf-mute, an imbecile, a minor, a blind man, a gentile, a slave, an agent, or a woman. 2)      The laying on […]

Menahot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 9

Menahot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah compares the rules regarding the laying on of the hands with the rules regarding waving certain sacrifices. It is set up in typical mishnaic fashion, noting that sometimes the rules regarding one action are more stringent than the others, while at other times, the reverse is […]

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