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Chap 3
Chap 4
Chap 5
Chap 6
Chap 7
Chap 9
Chap 8
Chap 10
Chap 11
Chap 12
Chap 13
Chap 14
Chap 15
Chap 16
Chap 17
Chap 18
Chap 19

Study Series on the morning blessings  - Birkat Hashachar


This series ran in December 2021 - the study materials are here


Study session on Responsa on COVID Vaccinations

We studied two responsa on this subject with Rabbi Joel on March 2nd.  These are provided here. 


Rabbi Peltz Teshuvah

Rabbi Golinkin Teshuvah 

Here is Rabbi Joel's source sheet


Monday night study with Rabbi Joel


On Monday evenings we were looking at how black people are presented in the classical Jewish texts.  This series started on August 17th.  

Study texts for the first few sessions are here:

 1: Aug 17th

 2: Aug 24th


Shavuot and Sunday morning study sessions


On Shavuot 2021 we studied 'Democracy, Authority and Freedom' using a resources pack developed by Nahum Gordon.  Click here for the the study materials, and here for a bibliography for the topic. 

Study with Rabbi Wittenberg on April 18th


We were fortunate to have Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg at our Havdalah on April 18th.  You can watch a recording of his talk and the discussion afterwards here.  

Rabbi Wittenberg referenced two recent papers on the issues around Triage in the COVID-19 pandemic by Rabbis Dorff and Nevins.  You can read those papers here


Shabbat and Zoom


A responsum (halachic ruling) from the Rabbinic Assembly (umbrella group of Conservative rabbis in the USA) published on May 13th provides a rationale for using streaming technology during this pandemic. 
A dissenting responsum from Rabbi Amy Levin against their use is here.  


Study Judges with Nahum Gordon


In these sessions (all on Zoom, in 2021) Nahum Gordon looked at the leaders who succeeded Moses and helped create the first Israeli state.  Here are the study materials Nahum used in these talks.  Recordings of these sessons will be included here.

JOSHUA (click here for the Zoom recording)

Allocation of the land to the 12 tribes of Israel

Significant Events in the Life of Joshua

Joshua in the Torah and Nach

Continuity from Moses to Joshua

Map of the 7 Canaanite nations

Conquest of Canaan by Joshua

DEBORAH (click here for the Zoom recording)

List of all Judges, their tribes and foes

Introduction to the Book of Judges and Deborah

Notes on Deborah

Mount Tabor

Map - Yael and Sisera

GIDEON (click here for the Zoom recording)

The Story of Gideon - Judges Chapter 6-8

Notes on Gideon

Gideon's battles

Photo of the Spring of Harod and Northern Israel

Photo of Givat Moreh and Har Gilboah

JEPHTHAH (click here for the Zoom recording - only 2nd half of talk recorded)

The story of Jephthah - Judges Chapter 10-12

Notes on Jephthah


(At least) 1001 Questions on the Five Books of the Torah (from Nahum Gordon)



Genesis – Chapters 1 – 19


Chapter 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  



Chapter 1 - Bereishit

Summary: Our world is created in six days.


Questions 1-2: Why does our Torah start with the letter Bet? Wouldn’t Aleph have been more fitting?

Qn 3: Why does the Torah not start with God’s relationship with Abraham, the first Hebrew?

Qn 4: What does it mean when God saw something was good?

Qn 5: Why did God not find anything good with Day 2 of Creation?

Qn 6: The sun and moon didn’t exist until Day 4. So, how long were each of the first three days of Creation?

Qn 7: Where do we get a clue that a day for Jews starts in the evening?

Qn 8: And God said, “Let US make man in our image, after our likeness…” Who was God talking to?

Qn 9: We were made in God’s “image” and “likeness” – what does that mean?

Qn 10: Were Man and Woman created simultaneously?

Qn 11: What was the very first instruction/commandment that God gave human beings?

Do you have any other questions?


Chapter 2 - Bereishit

Summary: God rests on the 7th day; the Garden of Eden; the creation of Man and then Woman.  

Qn 12: Why did God need to rest?

Qn 13: Why was Man created first and then Woman?

Qn 14: Is this a different version from Chapter 1 of how Man and Woman were created?

Qn 15: Was the Garden of Eden created specifically for Man?

Qn 16: According to Chapter 2, why was Woman created?

Qn 17: Why plant a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden, but forbid Man from eating its fruit?

Qn 18: A man must forsake his parents and cleave to his wife. Who commands this?

Qns 19-20: Was this not a breach of the fifth of the 10 Commandments? If not, why not?

Qn 21: At first, Man and Woman were naked and unashamed. Why was nudity shameful?


Any more questions?


Chapter 3 - Bereishit

Summary: The humans eat from the Tree of Knowledge; expelled from the Garden of Eden.

Qns 22-24: The Woman told the snake that she may not touch or eat from the Tree. Who told her?

                 What had God forbidden Man to do? Any difference?

Qn 25: Why did the Woman decide to proceed anyway?

Qns 26-27: Which other, important tree was not forbidden to her? Why did she not take from that first?

Qns 28-29: Where was the Man when she took and ate of the fruit of Knowledge? Why did he not stop her? 

Qns 30-31: What is the first thing they did after eating? Why?

Qn 32: How did God discover what has happened?

Qns 33-34: Whom did God interrogate first? And what was the response?

Qns 35-36: Who was the next to be interrogated? And what was the response?

Qns 37-38: Who was not questioned? What was their motive?

Qns 39-41: Why did God punish all parties? And why in that sequence? Where was the compassion?

Qns 42-43: The Woman was named Chava (Eve in English). What does it mean? Who gave her that name?

Qns 44-45: What was God’s parting gift as the humans left the Garden? Why that?

Do you have any other questions?


Chapter 4 - Bereishit


Summary: Two boys born in quick succession. The younger dies, to be replaced by a third son.


Qn 46: Adam and Eve name their oldest boy Kayin (Cain in English). What does his name mean?

Qn 47: The second son is called Hevel (Abel in English). What does his name mean?

Qn 48: The youngest boy was called Shet (Seth in English). What does his name mean?

Qn 49: What was Cain’s occupation?

Qn 50: And Abel’s?

Qn 51: Cain and Abel brought offerings to God. What did they bring and why did God only accept Abel’s?

Qns 52-53: What reason did God give Cain for refusing his offering? Why do you think he was rejected?

Qns 54-55: How did Cain react to being overlooked?  Why did he behave in this way?

Qns 56-57: How did God punish him? Why did he not die?

Qn 58: What change occurred in humanity with the birth of a son to Seth?

Any more questions?



Chapter 5 - Bereishit

Summary: A list of the descendants of Adam through his youngest son.

Qns 59-60: Why does the Torah repeat that we were made in God’s likeness? Why no repeat of God’s image?

Qn 61: Starting from Adam, how many generations do we have to go before we reach Noah?

Qn 62: Why did God call the man and woman Adam? 

Qn 63: Which of Adam’s descendants lived the longest?

Qn 64: Enoch “walked with God.” What does that mean?

Qns 65 - 67: The Hebrew for Noah is Noach. What is its Hebrew root? What does this mean?

           Reverse the Hebrew letters and you get another familiar word which means what?


Do you have any other questions?


Chapter 6 – Bereishit and Noach

Summary: The Sons of God; Man’s lifespan; The Nephilim; and Man’s continual pre-occupation.

Qn 68: The Sons of God married the daughters of men. Who were the Sons of God?

Qn 69: How long did God decide was the maximum that men should live?

Qn 70: Who were the Nephilim?

Qns 71-72: What was Man’s continual pre-occupation? What was God’s reaction?

Qns 73-74: Why did God like Noah? How did he impress God?

Qns 75-76: Re Ch. 5, have you found the wordplay with Noah’s name? Does this suggest humour in the Torah?

Qns 77-79: What did God tell Noah to build? To what purpose? What did Noah say?

Any more questions?


Chapter 7 – Noach

Summary: The Flood and its survivors.

Qn 80: How old was Noah when the rain started?

Qn 81: How did Noah and his family survive?

Qn 82: How long did it take for the water to cover the earth?

Qn 83: How long did the downpour last?

Qn 84: How long did the floodwater continue to cover the earth?

Qns 85-87: How many sons did Noah have? Can you name them? From which son are Jews descended?

Do you have any other questions?



Chapter 8 - Noach

Summary: Everything is normalised. God promises to never punish all of humanity again.

Qn 88: What type of bird did Noah send out first to see if the waters had abated sufficiently?

Qns 89-91: What did he use next? How many times did he use it? How did Noah know it was safe to disembark?

Qn 92: Where did Noah and his family disembark?

Qn 93: What did Noah do once he was on dry land?

Qn 94: What convinced God to never inflict global punishment on mankind?

Any more questions?



Chapter 9 - Noach

Summary: God’s blessing for Noah and his family; God’s covenant with Noah.

Qn 95: “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” - a blessing from God or a commandment?

Qn 96: Verses 5-6 – which of the Ten Commandments does this passage remind you?

Qns 97-98: God told Noah that Man was made in the image of God. Why? What is this meant to signify?   

Qns 99-100: What is God’s covenant? Would the word promise be a better description?

Qn 101: What sign did God use to seal the covenant?

Qns 102-103: How did Noah’s youngest son upset his father? How did Noah react?

Do you have any other questions?


Chapter 10 - Noach

Summary: The nations created by Noah’s grandsons.

Qn 104: The youngest of Noah’s boys became the father of three nations mentioned elsewhere in the Tenach:

             Cush, Mitzrayim and Canaan. Where will you find these countries in an atlas?

Qn 105: Canaan had many sons, five of whom are mentioned in the list of seven nations that will be

            dispossessed by the Israelites when they enter the Promised Land, 40 years after the Exodus.

            Who are the five that will be targeted and who are the other two not mentioned in this chapter?

Qn 106: Noah’s eldest son became the father of some famous countries: Elam, Asshur and Aram.

             Where will you find these countries in an atlas?

Any more questions?


Chapter 11 - Noach

Summary: The building of the Tower of Babylon (Babel) and God’s reaction.

Qns 107-109: Why did the people want to build a tower? What did they use to build it? How high was it to go?

Qns 110-111: What bothered God about this venture? What was His reaction?

Qns 112-113: How many generations from Noah to Abram?  What does the name Abram mean?

Do you have any other questions?


Chapter 12 – Lech Lecha

Summary: Our introduction to Abram.

Qns 114-116: Where was Abram when God spoke to him? Was this his birthplace? If not, how did he get there?

Qns 117 - v.1: לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ literally means “go for yourself”. How do you interpret what God was telling Abram?

Qns 118-119: לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ – the two words have the same letters. Is this significant? If so, what does it tell you?

Qn 120 - v.1: ּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ literally means “from your birthplace”. So, where did Abram get this instruction?

Qn 121 - v.3: “in you will all the families of the earth be blessed”; so, what was Abram’s role for all humanity?

Qns 122-124: How old was Abram when he set out? Who went with him? Why did they accompany him?

Qn 125: Abram’s wife is called Sarai. What does that mean?

Qns 126-127 - v. 6: “the Canaanite was THEN in the land.” We already know that Abram was in Canaan;

            so, clearly, the Canaanites were there UNLESS they were NO LONGER there when this story was written!

            If this is correct, when was the Torah written? Why did the mediaeval commentator Ibn Ezra flag this up? 

Qn 128: A famine struck the land. Abram headed south for Egypt. Why did he not head north and go home?

Qn 129: Abram feared Pharaoh would kill him and take Sarai. So, what ploy did Abram ask Sarai to adopt?

Qns 130-131: Was Abram a God-fearing man or not? If so, why did he not ask God for help?

Qn 132:  Sarai was taken into Pharaoh’s house and Abram was promptly compensated. So, does lying pay?!

Qns 133-135: How did God react to Sarai’s abduction? How did Pharaoh discover Abram’s deception?

             What do you think of his complaint to Abram: “Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?”


Any more questions?


Chapter 13 – Lech Lecha

Summary: Abram returns to Canaan and splits from Lot, his nephew.

Qns 136-138: Why did Abram and Lot decide to separate? How did they choose? Was their parting amicable?

Qns 139-142: Where did Lot choose to settle? Why? Are you surprised by his choice? If so, why?

Qn 143: What was God’s blessing for Abram?

Qn 144: Where did Abram settle?


Do you have any other questions?


Chapter 14 – Lech Lecha

Summary: Abram rescues Lot from an army of invaders.

Qns 145-147: What was the reason for the war? Who were the victors? How was Lot captured?

Qns 148-149: How did Abram find out what had happened? How many men went on the rescue mission?

Qns 150-151: Where did Abram catch up with the victors? How did he defeat them?

Qns 152-154: Who blessed Abram on his return? What did Abram take as his reward? Why?


Any more questions?


Chapter 15 – Lech Lecha

Summary: God promises Abram an heir.

Qn 155 - v.1: A phrase from this verse is used every day of the year in the Amidah. Can you identify it?

Qn 156: Why do you think that Abram was concerned about the lack of an heir?

Qn 157: What disaster did God foresee for Abram’s descendants?

Qns 158-159: How long would his descendants be outside the Promised Land? Compare your answer with that

              stated in Exodus 12: 40. If all the Torah was dictated by God to Moses, how can both be right?

Qn 160: Why did Abram need to know what the future would hold for his descendants?

Qns 161-162: God knew their future. Was their destiny pre-determined? Was there no free will?

Qns 163-165: When Abram died, he would “go to his fathers in peace”. Should we take this literally?

              Does this mean that Abram would live in another world/dimension? Would he become immortal? 

Qns 166-167: God told Abram that the Promised Land would stretch from the river of Egypt (the Nile) to the

              Great River, the River Euphrates. Did this mean eastward across modern Jordan and Iraq? Or?


Do you have any other questions?


Chapter 16 – Lech Lecha

Summary: Finally, Abram has a son but not with his wife!    


Qns 168-169: Sarai thought she would not have any children. So, her solution was? What did Abram think?

Qns 170-171: Did Sarai’s solution contradict God’s previous four promises to her husband? If not, why not?

Qns 172-174: Who would be the mother of the child? Who would be the father? How quickly did it happen?

Qns 175-176: How did the child’s mother behave towards Sarai? Why?

Qns 177-180: Sarai complained to Abram? What did he say? Did he appear to be bothered? If not, why not?

Qns 181-188: How did Sarai treat the child’s mother? Why did the latter run away? Why did she return?

      Who persuaded her? What was she promised? She must name her child Ishmael. Why? Meaning?

Qns 189-190: How old was Abram when his first son was born? How long had he been in Canaan?


 Any more questions?


Chapter 17 – Lech Lecha

Summary: Abraham and Sarah will have a boy of their own.     


Qn 191: God appeared to Abram again and introduced Himself as El Shaddai. What does this mean?

Qn 192: How old was Abram at this encounter?

Qns 193-194: Noah and Enoch walked WITH God, but Abram walked BEFORE God? Why is this significant?

Qns 195-196: God re-named Abram Abraham. Why? What does this mean?

Qns 197-199: What rite must be performed on every male? Why? What was the link with God’s covenant?

Qns 200-201: When must every male do this rite? What would happen to any male who did not go through it?

Qn 202: God also re-named Sarai. She was to be known as Sarah. Any difference in its meaning?

Qn 203: For the very first time, God specifically said that Sarah would have a son. Why did Abraham laugh?

Qns 204-205: How old would Sarah be when she had this child? How old would Abraham be?

Qns 206-207: Did God rebuke Abraham for laughing? If not, why not?

Qns 208-209: Abraham then asked that Ishmael might live before God? How should we interpret this wish?

Qns 210-211: What did God promise Abraham re Ishmael? Would the everlasting Covenant go through him?

Qns 212-214: What name did Abraham have to give his second son? Why? What does it mean?

Qn 215: How old was Ishmael when his father performed the rite mentioned above?


Do you have any other questions?


Chapter 18 - VaYera

Summary: Abraham and Sarah receive guests; God discusses the fate of two cities with Abraham   


Qn 216: What quality of Abraham AND Sarah is typified by the story described in the first eight verses?

Qns 217-218: Do you think that the food laid before the guests contravened the laws of Kashrut? If so, why?

Qns 219-220: One of the guests predicted Isaac’s birth? Who might he have been?

Qns 220-221: Sarah overheard him and laughed to herself. Why did she laugh? Why quietly to herself?

Qn 222: The guest challenges her. How did he know that she had overheard him and laughed to herself?

Qns 223-224: Why was Sarah afraid? Why was she challenged but Abraham was not (Qn 206 & 207)?

Qns 225-226: Did Abraham not tell Sarah about God’s promise in verses 16,19 and 21 of Chapter 17?

            Why would she have laughed if her husband had told her? What does this say about their relationship?

Qn 227: Why does God tell Abraham that He intends to inspect the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Qns 228-229: What does Abraham fear is going to happen? What argument does he use to prevent their doom?

Qn 230: What quality of Abraham is revealed through his negotiation with God?

Qn 231: Might Abraham have had an ulterior motive? Consider the story in Chapter 14.

Qn 232: Ultimately, how many righteous people had to be living in the cities for God to relent?

Any more questions?


Chapter 19 - VaYera

Summary: The fate of Sodom and Gomorrah      


Qns 233-234: Who arrives at Sodom? Who meets them at the city gate and insists on providing hospitality?

Qns 235-236: How do the other townsfolk react? How do the visitors protect their host and his family?

Qns 237-238: Who eventually leaves with the visitors? Who refuses to leave?

Qns 239-241: How does God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Who dies fleeing from Sodom? Why?

Qn 242: It transpires that the only person worth saving was the host. How do we know this?

Do you have any other questions?


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