Category: Vayikra

Moral State of Emergency (Beyond 34)

“God has declared a state of moral emergency,” writes Rabbi David Kasher in his commentary on this week’s Torah portion. Kasher points out that a command to care for the poor suddenly appears in the […]

And He Called: Stop Street Harrassment

(And) he called [va-yikira]… (Lev. 1:1) “I don’t care how she’s dressed, it’s not OK!” “I don’t care how she’s walking, it’s not OK!” “It’s not a compliment…It’s street harassment” “Vayikra” is a singular masculine […]

Bechukotai: A Path to Follow

“Clearing Out the Old” You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make room for the new. — Leviticus/Vayikra 26:10 Meant to suggest plenty lasting from […]

Bechukotai: Something to Notice

“To the last, Parashat Bechukotai challenges us,” writes R. Elizabeth Bolton in “Mir Zaynen Do — We Are Here,” an essay in the The Women’s Torah Commentary:* If the text excludes us when we are […]

Behar: A Path to Follow

“Proclaiming Liberty throughout the Land,” an essay on the portion Behar by then rabbinical students Sharon Brous and Jill Hammer,* includes a section entitled “The meaning of Ge’ulah for feminists.” (See p. 242ff in The […]

Bechukotai: Great Source(s)

“…if you reject My laws and spurn My rules, so that you do not observe all My commandments and you break My covenant, I in turn will do this to you…”–Leviticus/Vayikra 26:15-16 “…You shall not […]

Emor: Language and Translation

Leviticus/Vayikra 23:32 in three translations: It is a day of complete rest for you [shabbat shabbaton hu lachem] and you shall afflict yourselves; on the ninth of the month in the evening — from evening […]

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 […]

Kedoshim: A Path to Follow

A college friend and sailing fan once told me a story about a sailor who was about to win a ’round-the-world-solo race when he tacked away from harbor and, returning to open ocean, headed around […]

Kedoshim: Something to Notice

In the biblical world, there was no separation of ethical and ritual behaviors. Purity, in the physical sense, was inseparable from morality, for both the individual and the group. Holiness presumed a special state of […]