Friday, July 25, 2014 Tammuz 27, 5774
Behar-Bechutokai, Leviticus: 25:1-27:34
By:
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
What makes a place sacred? "Sacred" is not as easily recognized as, say, "happy" or "dangerous." When cartoon characters chance upon sun-drenched streams that bubble with promise or darkened caves that fairly reek of monster habitation, we know exactly what these are. The sacred is not so easily pictured. Even Jacob didn't appreciate the presence of God when he stumbled...
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EMOR, Leviticus: 21:1-24:23
By:
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
The theme of the priesthood is explored in this week's portion. The priests were obviously the religious leaders of the Israelites. However, there are a number of problematic issues regarding their status. One of the great mysteries in the Torah concerns the laws of the Red Heifer, whereby the priest is commanded to conduct a ritual so that a person...
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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1-20:27
By:
Rabbi Joyce Newmark
It is traditional to wish someone celebrating a birthday ad me'ah v'esrim -- "until 120." However, living a long life is not enough. No matter how many -- or how few -- years we're given, we want them to count. And with this week's double portion, the Torah describes God's prescription for a meaningful life. Toward the end of Acharei...
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TAZRIA-METZORA, Leviticus 12:1-15:33
By:
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
From time to time, we encounter new strains of a virus that science is helpless to control. Imagine what it must have been like in ancient times, when almost every illness was like that. Tsara'at (usually translated as "leprosy," but including a much greater range of ailments of the skin) is the Bible's prime example. No wonder it is labeled...
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SHEMINI, Leviticus: 9:1-11:47
By:
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
One of the most problematic incidents in the entire Bible is the traumatic death of the two sons of Aaron -- Nadav and Avihu -- at the zenith of the dedication of the Sanctuary, which was to be the sacerdotal province of the High Priest, Aaron. This week's Torah reading describes the context of the tragedy, which only increases our...
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