Toward Harvest, part 1 (Beyond 41)

The Jewish calendar places us in several different moments simultaneously. We are just over a week away from Shavuot, our re-experiencing of Sinai; but we are also Behar [at the mountain] already, as we close out the reading of Leviticus in the annual Torah cycle (Behar, Lev 25:1-26:2, & Bechukotai, Lev 26:3-27:34). We have counted […]

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“Goodbye,” Part 1

Pre-script: The 30 days of National Blog Posting Month are coming to a close, and Temple Micah‘s Siddur Study group is studying the closing blessings of the Amidah [standing] prayer. So a few (OK, quite a few) words on the first of Avodah [worship] blessing. (The version in Mishkan T’filah happens to consist of 30 […]

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Throne, Heel, and Holidays

And whenever God sits upon His Throne of Glory He immediately thinks of the blue thread of the fringes worn by Israel, and bestows upon them blessings. — footnote in Soncino edition, Chullin 89a Does the color sapphire [sapir] somehow remind God of tekhelet [the blue of ritual fringes]? Or are the blues and God’s […]

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Sanctifying the Day

The Torah did not tell a Jew to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on Shabbat [as on festivals]. There is no need. On Shabbat the Shekhina [Presence] knocks on the door. All we have to do is let Her in. — comment on the “Sanctification of the Day” blessing** Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur, p.520 **On […]

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“You set the patterns of the moon”

El Adon and Another Pinchas Addendum … (5) Glory and honor they give to You glowing praises to Your rule You call to the sun and it gives forth light You set the patterns of the moon (6) You are honored throughout the heavens with songs of glory and praise [the Seraphim, Ophanim and holy […]

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Chayei Sarah, Shabbat and Transgender Remembrance

Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1 – 25:18), begins: וַיִּהְיוּ חַיֵּי שָׂרָה, מֵאָה שָׁנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים–שְׁנֵי, חַיֵּי שָׂרָה And the life of Sarah was a hundred years and twenty years and seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. We have not heard from Sarah since Chapter 21, when she asked Abraham […]

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Remember: Ki Teitzei Prayer Links

Abraham Joshua Heschel’s challenge to explore the “soul” of words in our prayers (see last week’s post) suggests consideration of “zakhor [remember],” which occurs several times in the portion Ki Teitzei: Remember [zakhor] what HASHEM, your God, did to Miriam on the way, when you were leaving Egypt. — Deut./Devarim 24:9 You shall not pervert […]

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“…The Time That We Get Shabbat…”: (Pinchas Prayer Links)

The People’s time in the wilderness with God — “the love of your bridal days” (Jer. 2:2) — is coming to an end in the portion Pinchas. This is perhaps reflected in the portion’s “extras”: the additional sacrifice for Shabbat (Numbers/Bamidbar 28:9-10) and the eighth day “atzeret,” at the close of the festival of Sukkot […]

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Emor: A Path to Follow

The story [of the blasphemer, Leviticus/Vayikra 24:10-23] is noteworthy in that it is one of only four incidents in the Torah in which Moses is shown asking God how to decide an issue (the others are Numbers 9:6ff, 15:32ff, and 27:1ff). Moses sought God’s judgment because the punishment for blasphemy had not yet been detailed. […]

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Tzav: Something to Notice

“‘And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments,’ (Lev. 6:4). Sages in the School of R. Ishmael taught: The Torah teaches you good manners. The garments in which one cooks a dish for his teacher, he should not wear when he mixes a cup of wine for him.”

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