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.

High Holidays and Sukkot

High Holidays: King David – A Model for Teshuva?

King David – A Model for Teshuva Sourcesheet (pdf) King David – A Model for Teshuva E-Shiur (pdf) The human condition presents us with a tremendous dilemma. We all sin and, as a result, suffer from the taint these sins cause.  How can we regain human dignity? The Midrash chose a very unlikely exemplar to […]

High Holidays: Simhat Torah – Are There Limits on Innovation?

Simhat Torah is a “recent” holiday, if it should be considered a separate holiday at all.

High Holidays: Slichot – The 13 Attributes (Midot) – God Teaches Us how to Ask for Divine Forgiveness

Written with Rabbi Gail Diamond, Associate Director Slichot 13 Midot Sourcesheet (pdf) Slichot 13 Midot E-shiur (pdf) The section known as “God’s 13 Attributes (midot)”, from Exodus 34:6-7, forms the heart of the Slichot (Forgiveness) prayers of the High Holiday season. Along with Birkhat Kohanim and Kriat Shma, it, as Torah verse, is amongst the […]

High Holidays: The Scarlet Tongue and the Goats of Yom Kippur

The Goats of Yom Kippur Sourcesheet (pdf) The Goats of Yom Kippur E-Shiur (pdf) The Biblical Holiday – Purity and Goats Unlike Rosh Hashanah, which receives minimal mention in the Torah, Yom Kippur is dealt with at length.  Leviticus 16 describes the annual Yom Kippur ritual, centered on a series of sacrifices and sprinklings of blood on […]

High Holidays: The Third of Tishrei – For Whom to Fast?

As we rush back to our daily routines following the majestic two day Rosh Hashanah, it is easy to overlook the third day of Tishrei, Tzom Gedaliah, a minor fast.  When the First Temple was destroyed, in 586 BCE, a remnant of Jews was left in the land, and the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah […]

High Holidays: Zohar on the Holidays of Tishrei

The holidays of Tishrei are all rooted in that story of creation, covenant, slavery and redemption.


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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