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Rabbi Spitz’s Blog (Page 9)

Torah: Shavuot

Shavuot begins on Saturday night. It is customary to spend that night in study in anticipation of the reenactment in the morning of the revelation at Mount Sinai. Although the Bible account is of God addressing the people with the Ten Commandments, the rabbis expanded the holiday to encompass the giving of the entire Torah. A preschooler this morning asked me, “Why do…

Torah: B’Hukotai

“If” (אם) is repeated twenty-eight times in parashat B’Hukotai, such as “if you follow my laws….; if you do not obey me… if these things fail to discipline you…if a person consecrates to the Lord purchased land….” The repetition of “if” emphasizes free will and that action has consequences. After entering the Promised Land, success will depend on making good choices, marked…

Torah and Tidbits: Behar

Behar: The beginning of this week’s parashah focuses on the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, which will take effect after the people enter the Promised Land. Both of these laws seek social equality, with the Sabbatical annulling debts every seventh year and the Jubilee every fifty years returning land to its original tribal owners. The Bible offers hope to…

Torah: Behar

Behar: The beginning of this week’s parashah focuses on the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, which will take effect after the people enter the Promised Land. Both of these laws seek social equality, with the Sabbatical annulling debts every seventh year and the Jubilee every fifty years returning land to its original tribal owners. The Bible offers hope to the impoverished of new…

Torah: Emor

Emor: We also read selections from this week’s Torah readings during the holidays of Sukkot and Passover, for in parashat Emor is a description of the six primary Biblical Holydays (see if you can name them – key below). In the words of Rabbi Yitz (Irving) Greenberg: “The festival are the master code of Judaism. Decipher them and you will discover the…

Torah and Tidbits: Kedoshim

Torah: Parashat Kedoshim. The Torah reading begins: “Holy you shall be, for holy am I, the Ever-Present-One (YHVH), your God” (Leviticus 19:1). Holy goes beyond good. Holiness requires viewing the world “as if” the caring Parent of the whole of creation. The verses of Kedoshim bring that lofty concept into daily life. I share below…

Torah: Parashat Kedoshim

Torah: Parashat Kedoshim. The Torah reading begins: “Holy you shall be, for holy am I, the Ever-Present-One (YHVH), your God” (Leviticus 19:1). Holy goes beyond good. Holiness requires viewing the world  “as if” the caring Parent of the whole of creation. The verses of Kedoshim bring that lofty concept into daily life. I share below verses of chapter nineteen…

Torah and Tidbits: Ahrei Mot

Torah and Tidbits Torah: This Shabbat the Torah reading is Ahrei Mot, which we also read on Yom Kippur. Among the topics are the multiple sin offerings that culminated in sending the scapegoat bearing the people’s sins to die in the desert. In our tradition, Yom Kippur is a moment to reassess our past and…

Torah: Ahrei Mot

Torah: This Shabbat the Torah reading is Ahrei Mot, which we also read on Yom Kippur. Among the topics are the multiple sin offerings that culminated in sending the scapegoat bearing the people’s sins to die in the desert. In our tradition, Yom Kippur is a moment to reassess our past and to start anew. And yet, we do not wait for…