TORAH TIDBIT

Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David.
Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot

Acharei Mot – Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-20:27)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Acharei Mot – Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-20:27)

“You shall be holy, for I Adonai your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)

This is the central teaching of this week’s Torah Portion and according to the great biblical commentator Rashi, these words are the foundation of all the Torah. But, what does it mean to be holy?

From this sentence alone it would seem that being holy means we should strive to be like God, but not in some ethereal divine like way, at least that is not what the context of the verses that follow these words would teach us. “Honor your mother and father,” “Keep the Sabbath,” this is what it means to be holy. And if these words sound familiar, they are supposed to, because Leviticus 19 repeats and expands upon the entire list of the Ten Commandments.

The lesson is simple enough to learn, but it takes a lifetime to live out.
“Strive to be holy.”  Be the kind of person God believes you can be.

Acharei Mot – Kedoshim Summary:

The duties that the head kohein must perform on Yom Kippur are delineated and the ceremony of the scapegoat is outlined. (16:1-28) Moses instructs Aaron about the Yom Kippur laws for fasting and atonement. (16:29-34) Warnings are issued against the offering of sacrifices outside the Sanctuary and the consumption of blood. (17:1-16) Moses condemns the sexual practices of some neighboring peoples. Certain forms of sexual relations are prohibited. (18:1-30) God issues a variety of commandments, instructing the Israelites on how to be a holy people. (19:1-37) Various sex offenses are discussed and punishments for them are presented. (20:1-27)

Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot

Tazria-M’tzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Tazria-M’tzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

This week’s Torah Portion, Tazria-M’tzora, is so complex, so filled with slime and ooze, so disgustingly convoluted, that it drives even the great biblical commentator Rashi to simply say:
“I don’t know what this means.”
Seventy-seven times in his commentary on the Bible, Rashi admits this, which is something about Rashi which I have always admired. I mean, after all, he could have simply remained silent, ignored the quagmire of questions about bodily functions too gross to discuss in polite company, and simple moved on in his commentary to the next verse. Yet Rashi tells us, “I don’t know”, so that we would see there is a problem in the verse, even though Rashi himself could not figure out the answer.
It says in the Talmud (Berachot, 4a): “Teach your tongue to say: “I do not know”, from which we learn that it is an essential Jewish value to recognize that we can only know what we know – to know that there will always be more to learn, more to question, more we must struggle to understand.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who commands us to engage with words of Torah.

Tazria-M’tzora Summary:

God describes the rituals of purification for a woman after childbirth. (12:1-8) God sets forth the methods for diagnosing and treating a variety of skin diseases, including tzara-at (a leprous affection), as well as those for purifying clothing. (13:1-59) Priestly rituals to cure tzara-at when it afflicts humans are described. (14:1-32) Rituals to rid dwelling places of tzara-at are presented. (14:33-57) The parashah denotes male impurities resulting from a penile discharge or seminal emission. (15:1-18) The parashah concludes with accounts of female impurities caused by a discharge of blood. (15:19-33)

Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot

Sh’mini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Sh’mini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

“You are what you eat.”
“So on Passover, I am a matzah? Flat, dry, and crumbly?”
“No, give this a chance.”
“You are what you eat.”
“Ok. On Passover, I am a matzah? A remembrance of our Exodus from Egypt.”
“And who are you on Hanukkah?”
“I am a latke, cooked in oil, to remember the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days.”
“Good, so when this week’s portion teaches us what is fit and unfit to eat, we should learn?”
“You are what you eat.”
“So Parashat Sh’mini teaches us…”
“That we should eat to be fit.”
“Not exactly what I meant, but I think you are getting the idea.”

Sh’mini Summary:

Aaron and his sons follow Moses’ instructions and offer sacrifices so that God will forgive the people. (9:1-24) Two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, offer “alien fire” to God. God punishes these two priests by killing them immediately. (10:1-3) God forbids Moses, Aaron, and his surviving sons from mourning but commands the rest of the people to do so. Priests are told not to drink alcohol before entering the sacred Tabernacle and are further instructed about making sacrifices. (10:4-20) Laws are given to distinguish between pure and impure animals, birds, fish, and insects. (11:1-47)

Torah Tidbits - Study Judaism with Rabbi Rapport and Rabbi David. Ki Tisa Tetzaveh Pekudei Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1−5:26)The opening word of Leviticus that gives the book and this first parashah its name is Vayikra Tazria Metzorah Achrei Mot Emor B’har B’hukotai Sh’lach L’cha Korach Matot Masei D'varim Va-et’chanan Eikev Nitzavim Chayei Sarah Tol'dot

Chol Ha-moeid Pesach (Exodus 33:12-34:26)

This Week’s Torah Portion: Chol Ha-moeid Pesach (Exodus 33:12-34:26)

This week’s Passover Torah portion carries within it one of the most luminous and awe inspiring moments in all of the Torah. Moses, cradled gently in the hand of God, emerges from the cleft of the rock to glimpse a sight of the Divine Presence just as the glory of God passes by.

But, what exactly did Moses see? What can we learn from this vision of God’s back which Moses glimpses as God passes by? My favorite response to this question is found in the Talmud where Rabbi Shimon Hasida explains that what Moses saw was the knot of the leather strapped tefillin which encircled God’s head. (Berachot 7a)

Wait a minute! God wears tefillin, the traditional prayer garb of a Jew in prayer? Does this mean that God prays? To whom, and for what? The answer, I believe, can only be that God prays for us.

May we be sheltered in God’s protective hands, may we be in God’s prayers, now and always.

Chol Ha-moeid Pesach Summary:

On the Shabbat during Passover, we are reminded of the age-old desire to know God. Moses implores God to let him see God. While God will not allow Moses to see God’s face, God tells Moses, “I will make My goodness pass before you…” Perhaps we experience the divine presence through the goodness we create in the world. The Torah then sets forth the thirteen attributes of God, among them that God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. By emulating these very attributes, we create the goodness which allows us to know God.

This week’s Passover Torah portion carries within it one of the most luminous and awe inspiring moments in all of the Torah. Moses, cradled gently in the hand of God, emerges from the cleft of the rock to glimpse a sight of the Divine Presence just as the glory of God passes by. But, what exactly did Moses see? What can we learn from this vision of God’s back which Moses glimpses as God passes by? My favorite response to this question is found in the Talmud where Rabbi Shimon Hasida explains that what Moses saw was the knot of the leather strapped tefillin which encircled God’s head. (Berachot 7a) Wait a minute! God wears tefillin, the traditional prayer garb of a Jew in prayer? Does this mean that God prays? To whom, and for what? The answer, I believe, can only be that God prays for us. May we be sheltered in God’s protective hands, may we be in God’s prayers, now and always.

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