parashat Emor 5773, and 32nd Day of the Omer

This week’s parashat hashavua is called Emor, “speak”. As in, “G-d said to Moshe, speak to the children of Israel and say to them….” – a not-uncommon idea in the four books of the Torah in which Moshe is a primary figure. In this case, however, G-d is telling Moshe to speak to a particularContinue reading “parashat Emor 5773, and 32nd Day of the Omer”

Parashat Akharei Mot-Kedoshim: Reason to Live

This week we read a doubled parasha, just as we did last week. The words that provide the title of the first parashah are Akharei Mot – “after the death”. The words refer to the deaths of Nadav and Abihu, Aaron’s two sons who died suddenly, without warning, tragically, only a few verses of Torah ago. The second parashah is named Kedoshim – “holy ones”, takenContinue reading “Parashat Akharei Mot-Kedoshim: Reason to Live”

parashat Tazria-Metzora: Jews At Our Best Are Women

The opening of this week’s double parashat hashavua, linking Tazria and Metzora, begins with a passage which is often understood as negative, even misogynist. A woman giving birth goes into seclusion: “she shall be impure” for a time, and then her period of “blood purification” will continue for thirty-three days upon the birth of a boy, and sixty-six upon a girl’sContinue reading “parashat Tazria-Metzora: Jews At Our Best Are Women”

parashat Shemini: Tragedy

In parashat Shemini, the Jewish world’s Torah reading for this week, the long process of building the first Jewish sanctuary – the mishkan – is completed, the priests – Aaron and his four sons – are ordained, the mishkan is dedicated, and the first sacrifices are finally being brought. The Israelites are thrilled to see the work of the entire community brought toContinue reading “parashat Shemini: Tragedy”