From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/shmini
Sh’mini (שְׁמִינִי — The Eighth [Day]) – Leviticus 9:1-11:47
On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel. – Lev. 9:1
- 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)
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shemini_(parsha)
Shemini (שְּׁמִינִי — Hebrew for “eighth”) – Lev. 9:1-11:47
Triennial Reading – Lev. 10:12-11:32
Aaron and his sons are prohibited from drinking wine or other intoxicants when entering the Tent of Meeting in order to tell the difference “between the sacred and the profane.” Moses directs Aaron, Eleazar and Ithamar to eat the remaining meal offering, and tells them that they and their families can eat the sacrificial breast and the thigh in any clean place. Moses asks about the goat sin offering and gets angry when he learns that it had been burned and not eaten. Aaron asks Moses if God would have approved given what had befallen him that day, and Moses agrees. God then teaches Moses and Aaron the dietary laws of kashrut (כַּשְׁרוּת).
REFLECTION – Kashrut – Kosher (Kashér in Hebrew) Law
The humane slaughtering of animals and the mindful consuming of food greatly matter on physical, mental and spiritual levels. At the Temple Sinai Tuesday Morning Minyan this week, the Darshan (דַּרְשָׁן or דַּרְשָׁנִית – Hebrew for “deliverer of the d’rash”) pointed out a basic problem with Kosher law in this week’s Torah Portion: Economics.
Some may be aware that the provision of Kosher food is controlled by a very few powerful corporations whose owners have been subject to investigations by authorities and protests by various Jewish groups due to pricing and adulterated foods as well as other scandals. Sadly, this has been an ongoing issue for more than 100 years. One such provider was Sholom Rubashkin, the owner of the now bankrupt Agriprocessors in Iowa, and member of the Chabad-Lubavitcher Hasidic movement.
Under Rubashkin’s leadership, the company was cited for issues involving animal treatment, food safety, environmental safety, child labor, and hiring other undocumented workers. In 2004 and in 2008, PETA documented Agriprocessors’ cruel treatment of animals and gruesome violations of Kosher law. Agriprocessors stopped operating in October 2008 and filed for bankruptcy in November 2008. The company continued with a new name under his younger brother Heshy Rubashkin.
That same November, Rubashkin was arrested on federal charges of bank fraud. In November 2009 he was convicted on charges of financial fraud including money laundering. A second trial on immigration charges was cancelled and the charges dismissed “without prejudice.” In December 2017, then President Donald Trump commuted Rubashkin’s 27-year sentence for bank fraud.
What is the point? Personally, I sincerely try to comply with Kosher law. However, like my parents before me my adherence is by intent rather than complete. I avoid treyf, that is pork, shellfish and mixing dairy with meat (but not fowl since birds do not lactate). However, I do not generally go out of my way to buy food or products marked “Kosher”.
My parents taught me that one does the best possible given ones circumstances and resources. They also taught me that great abuses often take place under the guise of strict religious observance. Unfortunately, the Rubashkins of the world are more common than we hope, and we must be wary of such people. As a result, what matters most is to follow the intent of Kashrut through informed choice rather than adherence as interpreted in the past.
COUNTING THE ‘OMER
We are in the 49-day period of Counting the ‘Ómer, which began Sunday evening, March 28 and continues until Shavuot, which starts the evening of Sunday, May 16. The ‘Ómer is counted each evening.
Today, Friday, day 13 begins this evening at sundown. Before the ‘Alëinu, after stating that one is ready to count the ‘Ómer, the following blessing is said:
Baruch atah Adonai Elohëinu Mélech ha’olam, asher kid’shánu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivánu ‘al 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. If after the first six days, one also includes the number of weeks that one has counted. For example:
“Hayom sh’loshah ‘asar yom, shehëm shavua’ echad v’shishah yamim la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is 13 days, which is one week and six days of/in the ‘Ómer.”
https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/how-to-count-the-omer/ and other websites have more detailed information on Counting the ‘Ómer. Some emphasize the Kabbalistic and mystical aspects of this practice.
PIRKË AVOT – Ethics of the Fathers
From Pesach to Shavuot on each Shabbat some study a chapter a week from Pirkë Avot. Following are a few selections from the second chapter.
From Sefaria.org https://www.sefaria.org/Pirkei_Avot.2
8: Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai received [the oral tradition] from Hillel and Shammai. He used to say: if you have learned much Torah, do not claim credit for yourself, because for such a purpose were you created.
10: [Rabbi Eliezer said: Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own; And be not easily provoked to anger; And repent one day before your death.
16: He [Rabbi Tarfon] used to say: It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it….
ROSH CHODESH IYAR
Begins at sundown on Sunday, April 11 and ends at sundown Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Iyar is the second month of the Hebrew calendar. If a month has 30 days, then day 30 becomes Rosh Chodesh. The current month of Nisan has thirty days. Iyar contains 29 days; and so Rosh Chodesh Iyar is two days.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
ROSH CHODESH – FOR THE NEW MONTH p.519:
Our God and God of our ancestors, may the new month bring us goodness and blessing. May we have long life, peace, prosperity, a life exalted by love of Torah and reverence for the divine; a life in which the longings of our hearts are fulfilled for good.
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of brutality, abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence especially against all minority communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; 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 (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, disease, pandemics, natural disasters, war and gun violence.
This coming week, the 28th of Nisan through the 4th of Iyar, we lovingly remember:
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this Friday evening, April 9, 2021.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial Reading Lev. 10:12-11:32
Time: Apr 9, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Apr 9, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!