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.


Shavuot and Creation

In the beginning, the spirit of Elokim hovered in the darkness over the deep. There was no light and no life.

Shavuot: Extraordinary People In An Ordinary World – The Story of Ruth

Extraordinary People in an Ordinary World Sourcesheet (pdf) Extraordinary People in an Ordinary World E-shiur (printer-friendly pdf of this page) The story of Ruth is set in the time in which judges led the people of Israel, a period known for lack of order, government, and cohesiveness among the tribes ofIsrael. The story is set in the […]

Shavuot: Freedom and Necessity at Mount Sinai

Freedom and Necessity at Mt. Sinai Sources (pdf) Freedom and Necessity at Mt. Sinai E-shiur (pdf) One of the most famous images in the Talmud is that portrayed by Rav Avdimi in Shabbat 88a; G-d held Mt Sinai over the heads of the Children of Israel and threatened: if you accept the Torah – fine, […]

Shavuot: Pesahim 68b

Shavuot Psahim 68B Sourcesheet (pdf) The Talmud (Pesahim 68b) records, in a baraita, a debate between two prominent Tannaim, Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua, about how a person should conduct him or herself on hag (festival): “Rabbi Eliezer said: ‘On a festival, a person has nothing to do but either to eat and drink or to […]

Shavuot: The Day of the Giving of the Torah?

CY Shavuot E-shiur Sourcesheet 2011 (pdf) Shavuot 2011 E-shiur (pdf) Originally, our Jewish calendar did not have a fixed number of days in each month. Each month had 29 or 30 days, depending on when witnesses spotted the new moon and reported this to the Sanhedrin (High Court). Around three hundred years after the destruction of the […]


These Holiday Shiurim, prepared by Conservative Yeshiva faculty members, were made possible by a generous grant from Temple Zion Israelite Center, Miami, Florida. Multi-session courses about holiday topics can be found in Shiurim's Course list. Additional commentary about the development of holiday practices are available in Shiurim - The Online Beit Midrash's Rabbinic Texts section.
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