Torah Portion for this Shabbat 4/18/20 and Counting the Omer
The parashah for this Shabbat is “Sh’mini” (שְּׁמִינִי – Hebrew for ‘eighth’ [day]). The portion covers Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47. The following summary if from ReformJudaism.org:
· Aaron and his sons follow Moses’ instructions and offer sacrifices so that God will forgive the people. (9:1-24)
· Two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, offer “alien fire” to God. God punishes these two priests by killing them immediately. (10:1-3)
· God forbids Moses, Aaron, and his surviving sons from mourning but commands the rest of the people to do so. Priests are told not to drink alcohol before entering the sacred Tabernacle and are further instructed about making sacrifices. (10:4-20)
· Laws are given to distinguish between pure and impure animals, birds, fish, and insects. (11:1-47)
Besides the laws of Kashrut (כַּשְׁרוּת), the portion also contains some of the laws of ritual purity, including the mikvah and its specific requirements. Interestingly, the portion includes a disagreement between Moses and Aaron about a point of law regarding the offerings in which Moses concedes that Aaron is right.
YOM HASHOAH – HOLOCAUST REMEMBERANCE DAY (ReformJudaism.org)
Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, occurs on the 27th of the Hebrew month of Nisan. Shoah, which means “catastrophe” or “utter destruction” in Hebrew, refers to the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during World War II. This is a memorial day for those who died in the Shoah. The Shoah is also known as the Holocaust, from a Greek word meaning “sacrifice by fire.”
COUNTING OF THE ‘ÓMER
We are in the 49-day period of Counting the ‘Ómer, which began the evening of April 9 and continues until Shavuot, which starts the evening of Thursday, May 28. Today is day 8, and day 9 begins this evening at sundown. After stating that one is ready to count the ‘Ómer, the following blessing is said:
Baruch atah Adonai Elohëinu Mélech ha’õlam, asher kid’shánu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivánu ‘ãl S’firat Ha‘Ómer.
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the ‘Ómer.
After the blessing, one recites the appropriate day of the count:
“Hayom sh’monah yamim shehëm shavúah echad v’yom echad la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is 8 days, which is one week and one day of/in the ‘Ómer.”
The Counting of the ‘Ómer prepares us for Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), which celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jewish People on Mount Sinai.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence, and war; for all those in need of physical, emotional and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim; those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of disease, natural disasters, war, violence; and of the Holocaust, who died at this time of year and have no one to say “Kaddish” for them. “Zichronam liv’rachah” – May their memories be for blessing.