In a quote: "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation" - Oscar Wilde This week's double parsha moves away from purity related laws to general laws and Israel's adherence to these laws. Let us examine two contrasting verses אִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֖י תֵּלֵ֑כוּ וְאֶת־מִצְוֺתַ֣י תִּשְׁמְר֔וּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָֽם׃ If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments..... וְאִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֣י תִּמְאָ֔סוּ
In last week's Dvar Torah, I suggested that impurities uniquely define us. We should embrace that which makes us impure. According to Parshat Emor, this is not the case: In reference to Kohanim: כִּ֥י כָל־אִ֛ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֥וֹ מ֖וּם לֹ֣א יִקְרָ֑ב אִ֤ישׁ עִוֵּר֙ א֣וֹ פִסֵּ֔חַ א֥וֹ חָרֻ֖ם א֥וֹ שָׂרֽוּעַ׃ א֣וֹ אִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶ֥ה ב֖וֹ שֶׁ֣בֶר רָ֑גֶל א֖וֹ שֶׁ֥בֶר יָֽד׃ אֽוֹ־גִבֵּ֣ן אוֹ־דַ֔ק א֖וֹ תְּבַלֻּ֣ל בְּעֵינ֑וֹ א֤וֹ גָרָב֙ א֣וֹ יַלֶּ֔פֶת א֖וֹ מְר֥וֹחַ אָֽשֶׁךְ׃ כָּל־אִ֞ישׁ
Salutations all! As we meander our way through the book of Vayikra (Leviticus in English) we encounter another double parsha. Like the portions which precede it these portions continue to explore ideas of purity and the ways in which the community of Israel should behave. Last week we grappled with the notion of impurity as a result of bodily functions. A particularly difficult area of Jewish law to reconcile (if one feels the need to do so) with the modern and progressive wo
This week's parsha is a double Parsha: Tazria and Metzorah. During a leap year, these portions would be split over two weeks. This year however, we will read both in one sitting.
The main topic of these portions is the idea of purity which is incredibly important to our narrative (there is no escaping this). Now this is evident in these portions in two categories: a. Spiritual b. Health (physical) The first category is dealt with in typical biblical style. An
Salutations! In this week's email, we will examine the way in which the Torah suggests that leaders should act in times of trouble.
Let's set the scene. Aharon and his sons have been anointed as priests and are being instructed in what to do in the Mishkan to ensure all of the processes are exact and precisely what God ordered. Upon being inducted into the service of God, two of Aharon's sons die in a freak korban accident. Nadav and Avihu, choked by the very essence they w
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach all!
We are in the midst of a very busy time. Not only do we have our annual ShnatSem and HadSem in Melbourne and Sydney respectively, but we also find ourselves in the middle of celebrating the process of the Exodus. The eight days of Pesach are the eight days of Exodus and escape from Egypt and so whilst we celebrate Seder on day one and two, in reality, the celebrations continue for a while longer.
This week's portion digresses from the
With the cleaning and scrubbing well underway, Pesach is inching closer and closer. Traditionally, the Shabbat before Pesach is called Shabbat Hagadol, the Grand Shabbat. We have already explored four (4) special Shabbatot, however, these belonged to a certain category in which a special maftir was added. The other type of special Shabbat is one in which a particular Haftorah is read. Shabbat Hagadol falls under the latter category. The name Shabbat Hagadol is der
With the dawn of the month of Nissan we begin a new book of the Torah, Vaykira. Although traditionally this is the book of the Torah which is more focused on practice and worship of God rather than stories, it contains nuggets of insight and inspiration.
This week we will examine the following passage: יג וְאִ֨ם כָּל־עֲדַ֤ת יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ יִשְׁגּ֔וּ וְנֶעְלַ֣ם דָּבָ֔ר מֵֽעֵינֵ֖י הַקָּהָ֑ל וְ֠עָשׂ֠וּ אַחַ֨ת מִכָּל־מִצְוֹ֧ת יְהֹוָ֛ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־תֵֽעָשֶׂ֖ינָה וְאָש
Salutations! To recap: a. Shabbat Shkalim (Census) b. Shabbat Zachor (Story of Amalek) c. Shabbat Parah (Parah Adumah) d. Shabbat HaChodesh (The Jewish Calendar) We have finally reached the final special Shabbat which takes place every year on the Shabbat preceding Rosh Chodesh Nissan. It outlines two major concepts: a. The Jewish Calendar b. The traditions of Pesach (the offering, matzah, blood on the doorpost etc.) This week's dvar Torah will focus on the Jewish Calendar. C
As mentioned in a previous email, this time of year is home to a few special Shabbatot. We have already mentioned Shabbat Shkalim (the census), this week is Shabbat Zachor. Traditionally, the maftir, "זכור את עמלק" - "remember Amalek" is attended by many people, who make an effort to come to Shule specifically to hear the maftir and to take full advantage of a delicious kiddush. There are many token events that have become very popular in contemporary Judaism. Why Shabbat Zac