The End and The Beginning.

Get your SKINNY on in less time than it takes to post photos from your Desert Trip to Old-Chellah.


(the pitch)

This week’s Torah reading is V’Zot (v-zote – VOTE with a “z”) HaBrachah (ha-b’-rah-cha), which means: and this is the blessing because Moses offered blessings to the 12 Tribes of Israel. (Read this SKINNY, if you’re not 12 tribal.) This is the moment we’ve all been bracing for: Moses traveled up Mount Nebo (in present-day Jordan), where he viewed the land of Israel from its summit, and then passed away. The Torah reading then lauds Moses for everything he did for us, and there’s no Linkedin exaggeration, “There arose not a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom God knew face-to-face…and who did mighty and great things for all of Israel.” Moses would have had a lot of likes on Tinder. It’s said that out of love and respect for Moses, God personally attended to his burial and his gravesite is unknown to anyone but God.


(the over think)

Before he passed away, Moses offered a blessing to each tribe. Coby-SKINNIES know that Jacob (whose nickname in Modern Hebrew is Coby) also blessed each tribe individually before he died. (Read this SKINNY for the deck on the 12 blessings.)


(to be in-the-know)

There are a couple more holidays on tap this week and they seamlessly transition from one day to the next. We’re still in the middle of Sukkot (sue-coat) – the hut holiday. (Read this SKINNY if you’re hut-less and check out our Instagram posts for holiday inspiration. It’s not too late to build your makeshift habitat!) Shemini (sh-meanie) Atzeret (ah-ts-er-et), which means assembly of the 8th (day), is a bonus day of Sukkot that starts this year at sundown on October 23rd. We’ve spent the past 7 days partying in our Sukkah (sue-kah) with God as our symbolic guest of honor. God’s having so much fun, totally digs our fabulous Sukkah décor, and doesn’t want the partaaay to end, so Shemini Atzeret is the gift of the 8th day of the holiday. Team SKINNY wishes every weekend had an extra bonus day!


(bookmark. reflect. share)

This week’s Torah chapters intentionally coincide with the holiday of Simchat (sim – like the card in your phone – ch-aht) Torah, which means celebration of the Torah. Simchat Torah starts this year at sunset on October 24th right after Shemini Atzeret ends. The holiday marks the completion of the annual Torah reading cycle. Finishing the entire Torah is a big accomplishment and deserves a big celebration! It’s a custom on Simchat Torah to dance and sing in a parade-like procession, while carrying the Torah scrolls. In some synagogues, community members stand in two long lines facing each other with their palms turned up and the entire Torah is unrolled into their gentle hands for all to see. (Read this SKINNY for more on Simchat Torah.) 


(to chew on)

With this week’s Torah reading, we’ve finished the fifth and final book in the Torah! Literary-SKINNIES know that the Torah is divided into sections that are read in weekly installments called parshiot (par-she-oat), which means portions. We start with chapter 1 from the Torah’s first book, Beresheit (beh-ray-sheet), which means in the beginning. The Torah ends with this week’s reading and then – just for fun – we start back at the beginning by reading chapter 1 of Beresheit again as a reminder that the Torah is a circle, and life is a cycle, and the wheels on the bus go round and round. Quintuplet-SKINNIES know when we finish reading a book in the Torah, it’s a tradition to recite a throat-scratching celebratory phrase: Chazak (ch-ah-zahk) Chazak (repeat) V’nitchazek (v’neat-ch-ah-zehk), which means: Be Strong, Be Strong, and May We Be Strengthened! The statement is intended to remind us that we’re strengthened by learning. You can recite this celebration mantra in honor of other High Five moments too! Say it with your kids when they get a hard-earned B- in math. Shout it out when your girlfriend gets a well-deserved promotion! Deep-breath-whisper it anytime you’re proud of yourself: “I did it!” Whenever and however you say it, the phrase is intended to give props to our inner strength – the physical, intellectual, and spiritual kinds. Amen, SKINNIES! We’re proud of you! ♥



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