A Summary of the Torah

A description of the highlights of the Torah, according to the divisions of the weekly portions.

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Hukkat (19:1-22:1) The laws regarding the red heifer are enu­merated. Moses strikes the rock and water gushes forth.

Balak (22:2-25:9) Balak, king of Moab, sends Bilaam to curse the Israelites. Instead, Bilaam gives his blessing to them.

Pinhas (25:10-30:1) The daughters of Zelophechad are given their father's inheritance. Moses chooses Joshua as his successor.

Mattot (30:2-32:42) Moses informs the tribal heads regarding the laws of vowing.

Masei (33:1-36:13) The detailed account of the various way stations on the Israelites' route to the Promised Land. Reference is made to the cities of refuge.


A recapitulation of the laws with some additions. Moses addresses the children of Israel and presents them with some warnings.

Weekly Portions

D'varim (1:1-3:22) Moses explains and interprets the law to the people.

Va’et'hanan (3:23-7:11) The Ten Commandments are repeated, with slight variations. The cities of refuge are mentioned. The first section of the Shema is begun with, "You shall love the Lord your God."

Ekev (7:12-11:25) The Shema continues with the second para­graph, which deals with the theme of reward and punishment.

Re’eh (11:26-16:17) Moses continues his address, telling the people that obedience will bring them blessing, whereas disobedi­ence will bring them curses.

Shoftim (16:18-21:9) Moses warns the people against idolatry. He also reminds the people of the importance of pursuing justice.

Ki Tetze (21:10-25:19) Moses reviews a variety of laws intended to strengthen family life and human decency in Israel. Those laws refer to lost property, the educational responsibility of parents to their children, and kindness to animals, among other things.

Ki Tavo (26:1-29:8) The laws of tithing and first fruits arc discussed.

Nitzavim (29:9-30:20) Moses continues his farewell speech and God tells the people to choose life.

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Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs

Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs is the spiritual leader of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater, New Jersey. He has served as the publications committee chairperson of the Rabbinical Assembly.