From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/emor
Emor (אֱמֹר — Hebrew for “speak”) – Leviticus 21:1-24:23
The Eternal One said to Moses: “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: None shall defile himself for any [dead] person among his kin, . . .” – Lev. 21:1
- Laws regulating the lives and sacrifices of the priests are presented. (21:1-22:33)
- The set times of the Jewish calendar are named and described: the Sabbath, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Pilgrimage Festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. (23:1-44)
- God commands the Israelites to bring clear olive oil for lighting the sanctuary menorah. The ingredients and placement of the displayed loaves of sanctuary bread are explained. (24:1-9)
- Laws dealing with profanity, murder, and the maiming of others are outlined. (24:10-23)
STUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emor
The parashah describes purity rules for priests (Hebrew: כֹּהֲנִים, Kohanim), recounts the holy days, describes the preparations for the lights and bread in the sanctuary, and tells the story of a blasphemer and his punishment.
[The Triennial Reading – Lev. 22:17-23:22 – lays out that only animals without defect qualify for sacrifice. It continues with speaking about Shabbat, to be observed on the seventh day of the week; and Pesach and Shavuot, two of the three Pilgrimage Feasts (Shalosh Regalim-שָׁלוֹשׁ רְגָלִים). Pesach is to be observed for 7 days beginning at twilight of the 14th day of the first month (Nisan) and Shavuot takes place 50 days later.]
REFLECTION – Shabbat
The word “Shabbat” (שַׁבָּת) comes from the Hebrew root Shin-Bet-Tav, and derives from the Hebrew verb shavat (שָׁבַת). While Shavat is usually translated as “to rest”, it more accurately means “to cease”, as to end or stop work. Whether one is resting or ceasing, Shabbat is the most important holiday in Judaism, even more so than Yom Kippur.
Worded a bit differently in each: remember (zachor) and observe (shamor), Shabbat appears in both versions of the Ten Commandments. Shabbat is not specifically a day of prayer, although in some Jewish denominations many spend a substantial amount in synagogue praying on Shabbat. Observant Jews pray three times a day every day. The Torah is traditionally read on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Orthodox and Conservative adherents have an additional service on Shabbat and other holidays called Musaf. In general, Reform Judaism leaves it up to the individual how to keep Shabbat.
From Reform Judaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/shabbat
Inspired by the Torah’s story of God resting after creating the world (Genesis 2:1-3), Shabbat celebrates creation and offers a respite from the hectic pace of the rest of the week. Shabbat is a day of rest, and also a day of pleasure and delight. Shabbat is a time that is set aside to take notice of the wonders around us.
Shabbat is central to Jewish life. As the great Jewish writer Ahad Ha-Am has observed: “More than the Jewish people has kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jewish people.” The Sabbath truly has been a unifying force for Jews the world over….
[T]he pattern of work and rest is woven into the very fabric of the universe. Rest means more than physical cessation of work. It implies taking oneself out of the ordinary, out of the routine, out of the every-day. This kind of rest gives us the opportunity to re-create our spirit and restore our soul.
Not only is the Sabbath an integral part of the creation story, it is the only holiday mentioned in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments appear twice in the Bible, and the Sabbath commandment is formulated somewhat differently in each instance [as noted above].
These two passages point out two different aspects of Shabbat: Exodus tells us to remember the Sabbath, while Deuteronomy stresses the observance of the day. And each passage offers us a different rationale for Shabbat: Exodus reminds us that on Shabbat we rejoice in the creation of the physical universe; Deuteronomy reminds us of our own experience of slavery, and that we must remember our Exodus from Egypt and recognize the freedom we enjoy.
There are few details about specific Shabbat observances in the Torah, other than “do no work” (Exodus 20:10, Exodus 35:2, Deuteronomy 5:14). The only specific prohibitions mentioned are against kindling fire, gathering wood, and plowing.
After the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE, the ancient Rabbis had to adapt their customs and teachings to a new reality. Through this process, they laid the foundation of Rabbinic Judaism, which is now the basis for modern Jewish life.
A major area of concern for the Rabbis was creating rules for Shabbat observance. Based on an injunction not to work on Shabbat that appears in the midst of the Torah’s description of how the Israelites were to build the Tabernacle (Exodus 31:13), the Rabbis concluded that the work required to build the Tabernacle should form the basis of the kinds of work prohibited on Shabbat. They identified 39 categories of work, largely concerned with creating, destroying, and harvesting, and based their restrictions on these kinds of labor and other tasks related to them.
The Rabbis also translated the Torah’s commandments to “remember” and “keep” the Sabbath into liturgy, including special blessings and rituals as positive elements of observance.
Both the prohibitions and the liturgy and rituals have evolved over time, adapting to the social structures, customs, and ideologies of different communities. The mystics of the Middle Ages gave us a new image of Shabbat as a bride and queen, to be welcomed with joy and song. Prohibitions have sometimes expanded as technologies have changed, and artists through the ages have continue[d] to add to the liturgy, creating the beautiful observances we can experience today.
COUNTING THE ‘ÓMER https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/how-to-count-the-omer/
We continue in the 49-day period of Counting the ‘Ómer, which began Sunday evening, March 28 and ends with Shavuot, which starts the evening of Sunday, May 16. The ‘Ómer is counted each evening.
Today, Friday, is Lag Ba’Ómer, a minor holiday in the Ashkenazi tradition. Day 34 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. For example:
“Hayom arba’ah u’shloshim yom, shehëm arba’ah shavuot v’shishah yamim la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is thirty-four days, which is four weeks and six days of/in the ‘Ómer.”
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 fifth chapter.
From Sefaria.org https://www.sefaria.org/Pirkei_Avot.5
5: Do not seek greatness for yourself, and do not covet honor. Practice more than you learn. Do not yearn for the table of kings, for your table is greater than their table, and your crown is greater than their crown, and faithful is your employer to pay you the reward of your labor.
7: Great is Torah for it gives life to those that practice it, in this world, and in the world to come.
11: Whatever the Holy Blessed One created in His world, he created only for His glory, as it is said: “All who are linked to My name, whom I have created, formed and made for My glory” (Isaiah 43:7), And it says: “The Lord shall reign for ever and ever” (Exodus 15:18).
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 – including those who died last night in Meron, Israel.
This coming week, the 19th through the 25th 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 evening, Friday, April 30, 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. 22:17-23:22
Time: Apr 30, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Apr 30, 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!