Archive | Leviticus

B’chukotai: Fear Itself

V’radaf otam kol aleh nidaf…V’chashlu ish b’achiv mipnei cherev v’rodef ayin The mere sound of a wind-driven leaf will put them to flight…even though no one is pursuing them, they will stumble over one another as if fleeing the sword. (Leviticus 26:36-37) Last week’s portion, B’har, laid out the need for the earth to receive […]

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Behar: We Do Not Own the Earth

V’ha’aretz lo timacher l’tzmitut, ki li ha’aretz, ki gerim v’toshavim atem imadi The land cannot be sold in perpetuity, for the land belongs to Me, and you are but temporary residents on My earth. (Leviticus 25:23) Last week I argued for the importance of understanding the expansive evolution that Jewish law and practice has undergone […]

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Emor: An Eye for an Eye?

V’ish ki yiten mum ba’amito, ka’asher asah ken ya’aseh lo: shever tachat shever, ayin tachat ayin, shen tachat shen. Ka’asher yiten mum ba’adam, ken yinaten bo.  A person who inflicts injury on his fellow, as he did so shall be done to him: a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth […]

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The Mitzvah of Tochecha: Tough Love

Lo tisna et achicha bilvavecha; hochei’ach tochi’ach et amitecha v’lo tisa alav chet. Do not hate your brother or sister in your heart; you must admonish, yes, admonish them or you will bear some of their sin. (Leviticus 19:17) This week’s Torah portion is named Kedoshim, derived from the opening instruction of the parsha, “Kedoshim […]

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Acharei Mot: The First Yom Kippur

V’hayta la’chem l’chukat olam: ba’chodesh ha’shvi’I be’asor lachodesh t’anu et nafshoteichem, v’chol m’lacha lo ta’asu, ha’ezrach v’hager hagar b’tochechem. Ki va’yom hazeh y’chaper aleichem l’taher etchem mikol chatoteichem… And this shall be for you a law for all time: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall practice self-denial, and […]

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Shmini: What Happened to Nadav and Avihu?

Va’yikchu v’nei Aharon, Nadav v’Avihu, ish machtato va’yitnu va’hen esh va’yasimu aleha ketoret va’yakrivu lifnei YHVH esh zarah asher lo tziva otam. Va’tetzei esh milifnei YHVH va’tochal otam va’yamutu lifnei YHVH. Now Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, each took his incense pan, put fire and incense in them, and brought near to the presence of […]

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Tzav: The Haftarah as Commentary and Critique

Va’yedaber YHVH el Moshe leimor: Tzav et Aharon v’et banav leimor: Zot torat ha’olah… And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: Command Aaron and his sons thus: These are the instructions for the burnt offering… (Parashat Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-2) This is what YHVH Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to […]

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Shabbat Zachor: The Origins of Amalek

Zachor et asher asah lecha Amalek ba’derech b’tzeitchem miMitzrayim, asher korcha ba’derech va’yezanev b’cha kol ha’necheshalim acharecha, v’atah ayef v’yageia v’lo yarei Elohim. Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt: how, undeterred by reverence for God, they surprised you on the way when you were famished and weary, and […]

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