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Shabbat Behar-Behuchotai (Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34)

Parasha Behar (“on/in/from the Mountain”) spends a great deal of time discussing the sabbatical and jubilee years in the land of Israel. The rabbi’s have interpreted this Shabbat of the land in different ways, from simple agricultural common sense to a living reminder that everything ultimately belongs to and derives from God, to a mirror of the 7 days of creation, to a chance to put... read more

Shabbat Emor (Lev 21:1 – 24:23)

This weeks’ portion continues with the “Holiness Code”. The Hebrew word for Holy (Kadosh) comes from the root that does NOT mean “better”, “higher”, “righteous”, etc but RATHER “set apart” or “separate”. It puts an entirely different spin on what it is that God is asking the Israelites to do and be. Where last week the portion... read more

Shabbat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim (Lev. 16:1-20:27)

Not nearly as exciting as Metzorah, Acharei Mot discusses a variety of laws and actions. There’s some funny ideas, like “putting” the sins of the entire tribe of Israel onto a goat and setting it free in the wilderness. Then there are the details of what needs to be done during Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur got us thinking about fasting (which is NOT something we do around Passover). Fasting... read more

Shabbat Tazria-Metzorah (Lev. 12:1-15:33)

Tazria begins the discussion of situations where people, places or things are “unclean” or “impure” – which may or may not be as negative as it sounds. However, the very first thing in Tazria (“When she gives birth”) is babies. After a woman gives birth, she is considered impure for a certain number of days (different for a boy versus a girl). Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Could it be a liturgical... read more

Shabbat Shmini (Lev. 9:1-11:47 )

After 4 (or was it 5) glasses of wine at Passover last week, the theme this week might seem obvious at first blush. But our fevered brains had different reasons for this strange idea. Abducted by aliens? An idea which hit us like a bolt from the blue? Out of the frying pan and into the fire? Your burning questions will have to wait… This week Nadab and Abihu – Levites Gone Wild, do something wrong during... read more

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