Annual Torah Cycle

In the observance of the annual cycle of Torah Reading, each week is assigned its own portion of Scripture, or what we refer to as a Parashah.  This year, 5780,  began on 1 Tishrei or October 1, 2019. There are 54 Parshiyot (Parashah plural), one for each week of a leap year, so that in the course of one year, we complete the entire Torah from B'resheet to D'varim (Genesis to Deuteronomy). A leap-year adds an additional 4 weeks (one month) to the usual 12 months, and we refer to this month as: ADAR II. During non-leap years (regular), there are 50 weeks, as a result some of the shorter Parshiyot are doubled up.

The weeks of Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot have different Torah portions assigned to them, so on leap years that leaves 52 weeks to accomplish 54 Parshiyot. This is achieved by doubling up 2 portions, and for non-leap years there remain 48 weeks to accomplish 54 Parshiyot and this is achieved by having 6 double Parshiyot.

This Week's Parashah

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Portion Summary

Balak (Balak, בלק) was the name of a Moabite king in the days of Moses. It is also the name of the fortieth reading from the Torah. It comes from the second verse of this week's reading, which says, "Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites" (Numbers 22:2). This week's Torah reading tells the story of how Balak hires the occult prophet Balaam to lay a curse on Israel. Balaam meets resistance from God, has a conversation with his donkey and ends up blessing Israel instead of cursing them.


Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Numbers 22:1| Balak Summons Balaam to Curse Israel
    • Numbers 22:22| Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel
    • Numbers 22:41| Balaam's First Oracle
    • Numbers 23:13| Balaam's Second Oracle
    • Numbers 24:1| Balaam's Third Oracle
    • Numbers 24:15| Balaam's Fourth Oracle
    • Numbers 25:1| Worship of Baal of Peor
  • Prophets
    • Mic 5:2| The Ruler from Bethlehem
    • Mic 5:7| The Future Role of the Remnant
    • Mic 6:1| God Challenges Israel
    • Mic 6:6| What God Requires
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