“And Make Yourselves a New Heart and a New Spirit”
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Judaism’s Three Voices
The nineteenth chapter of Vayikra, with which our parsha begins, is one of the supreme statements of the ethics of the Torah. It’s about the right, the good and the holy, and it contains some of Judaism’s greatest moral commands: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” and “Let the stranger who lives among you be like your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were strangers in Egypt.”
But the chapter is also surpassingly strange. It contains what looks like a random jumble of commands, many of which have nothing whatever to do with ethics and only the most tenuous connection with holiness:
Tazria - Metzora
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Holiness and Childbirth
The sidrot of Tazria and Metsorah contain laws which are among the most difficult to understand. They are about conditions of “impurity” arising from the fact that we are physical beings, embodied souls, and hence exposed to (in Hamlet’s words) “the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” Though we have immortal longings, mortality is the condition of human existence, as it is of all embodied life. As Rambam explains (Guide for the Perplexed, III: 12):
Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47
From Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
When Weakness Becomes Strength
Have you ever felt inadequate to a task you have been assigned or a job you have been given? Do you sometimes feel that other people have too high an estimate of your abilities? Has there been a moment when you felt like a faker, a fraud, and that at some time you would be found out and discovered to be the weak, fallible, imperfect human being you know in your heart you are?
Acharon Shel Pesach - Last Day of Passover
This Saturday, April 7, 2018, is the last day of Passover for Jews in the Diaspora
Deuteronomy 14:22 - 16:17 & Numbers 28:19 - 28:25
Like the reading for the second day, it catalogs the annual cycle of festivals, their special observances, and the offerings brought on these occasions to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Eighth Day's special connection with the Future Redemption is reflected in the Haftorah (reading from the Prophets) for this day (Isaiah 10:32-12:6).
Morning service. Half-Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. The Yizkor memorial service is recited following the Torah reading.
Pesach 1 - On Shabbat
On the FIRST DAY OF PASSOVER we read from the book of Exodus (12:21-51) & Numbers (28:16 - 28:25) of the bringing of the Passover Offering in Egypt, the Plague of the Firstborn at the stroke of midnight, and how "On this very day, G‑d took the Children of Israel out of Egypt."
Chag Sameach!/Happy Holiday!
Want more information on Passover? Check out Jvillage Network's Passover Guide.