Monday, May 29, 2006

B'midbar

Num. 3:14-39

The beginning of a new book (Numbers). The recording of the Levites (males from the age of one month), the names and numbers of the different clans and their duties. I've got some ideas kicking around in my head about this one on how the various parts of the Tabernacle – the coverings, screen, curtains, etc; the ark and other utensils from the sanctuary; and the "infrastructure" – bars, posts, sockets, etc. – could be compared to the "parts" that make up a human being, e.g., our external appearance, our inner self, and I'm not sure what it would be best to compare the third part to. Just some thoughts to be going on with.

B'har/B'chukkotai

Lev. 26:9-46

The end of the list of blessings which YHVH will bestow upon Israel if the people follow the commandments, as well as all of the curses, at least in this part of the Torah. There are more of both in Deuteronomy (D'varim).

Emor

Lev. 23:23-32

Commandments regarding the observance of Rosh Hashanah (at this time only the first day of the seventh month - yes, the new year begins in the seventh month - don't ask) and Yom Kippur.

Acharei Mot/K'doshim

Lev. 19:15-32

Once again, I have to admit I've fallen down on the job, so here are some basic outlines that can also serve as placeholders in case any brilliant thoughts occur to me.

This was a wonderful fifth aliyah, jam-packed full of commandments of all kinds, ranging from impartiality in judicial decisions to reverence for elders, and including the "Golden Rule" (Lev. 19:18), as well as the less obviously uplifting prohibitions on mixing species of both animals and cloth, communicating with the dead, and eating blood.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tazria-Metzorah

At the moment I’m not even going to try this one, rumored to be known as “the rabbinical students’ nightmare” – certainly the bar/bat mitzvah’s nightmare. I do have to say, though, that the fifth aliyah of the double portion – the reintegration of the former “leper” into the community – is much more palatable than the fifth aliyah of Tazria alone, which is solely to do with diagnosis.