THE TORAH READING FOR 4 SIVAN 5781 MAY 14-15, 2021
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bhar-bchukotai
B’midbar (בְּמִדבַּר — Hebrew for “In the Wilderness”) – Numbers 1:1−4:20
On the first day of the second month, in the second year following the exodus from the land of Egypt, the Eternal One spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, saying: “Take a census of the whole Israelite company…” – Numbers 1:1-2
- God commands Moses to take a census of all the Israelite males over the age of twenty. (1:1-46)
- The duties of the Levites, who are not included in the census, are detailed. (1:47-51)
- Each tribe is assigned specific places in the camp around the Tabernacle. (1:52-2:34)
- The sons of Levi are counted and their responsibilities are set forth. (3:1-3:39)
- A census of the firstborn males is taken and a special redemption tax is levied on them. (3:40-51)
- God instructs Moses and Aaron regarding the responsibilities of Aaron and his sons, and the duties assigned to the Kohathites. (4:1-20)
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bemidbar_(parsha)
Both the parashah and the haftarah recount Israel’s numbers, the parashah in the census, and the haftarah in reference to numbers “like that of the sands of the sea.” Both the parashah and the haftarah place Israel in the wilderness (midbar).
STUGGLING WITH TORAH
This Parsha begins the Book of Numbers. At the Temple Sinai Tuesday Morning Minyan the Darshanit (דַּרְשָׁן or דַּרְשָׁנִית – Hebrew for “deliverer of the d’rash”) pointed out the parallels between this Parsha and the first chapter of B’reishit: bringing order out of chaos. The triennial reading is Numbers 2:1-3:13.
In the first part, the location of each of the tribes around the Tent of Meeting is decreed. In the second part the priests (sons of Aaron) and the role of the Levites is prescribed.
COUNTING THE ‘ÓMER https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/how-to-count-the-omer/
We are nearing the end of the 49-day period of Counting the ‘Ómer, which began Sunday evening, March 28 and ends with Shavuot, this coming Sunday evening, May 16. The ‘Ómer is counted each evening teaching us to make every moment count.
Today, Friday, day 48 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 sh’monah v’arba’im yom, shehëm shishah shavuot v’shishah yamim la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is forty-eight days, which is six weeks and six days of/in the ‘Ómer.”
REFLECTION – Chag Shavuot Sameach/Dulce i Alegre Shabuot
We are finally at the cusp of the Holiday that counting the ‘Omer has been leading us to, we rejoice in the giving of the Torah, which is likened to milk and honey. We stand at Mount Sinai with all the generations of our people to receive it. Shavuot is celebrated for one day in Israel and two days in the Diaspora, beginning this year the evening of Sunday, May 16. Reform Judaism celebrates one day as in Israel.
Shavuot [שָׁבוּעוֹת] is known by several names: Chag HaShavuot (the Festival of Weeks), Chag HaBikkurim (the Festival of the First Fruits), Z’man Matan Torateinu (the Time of the Giving of Our Torah), and Chag HaKatzir (the Festival of Reaping). Some Ashkenazi Jews pronounce and write the name of the holiday as “Shavuos.” Some Sefardi Jews pronounce and write it as “Shabuot”.
From Reform Judaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/shavuot
The festival of Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and encourages us to embrace the Torah’s teachings and be inspired by the wisdom Jewish tradition has to offer.
Shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks,” and the holiday occurs seven weeks after Passover. Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Israelites brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and the choice to participate actively in Jewish life.
THINGS TO DO
If you can, for Erev Shavuot, decorate your homes with freshly cut flowers and greens as well as an abundance of plants. (In my mother’s Judeo-Spanish tradition, roses are used to decorate the home and adorn the Torah Scrolls.) Read the Book of Ruth. Join an online Tikkun Lëyl Shavuot, e.g., URJ, My Jewish Learning, various temple websites.
From URJ.org https://urj.org/blog/prayer-jerusalem
This Shabbat we could all add a special prayer as we prepare for the festival of Shavuot – a pilgrimage holiday to Jerusalem. Let us say together:
שַׁאֲלוּ שְׁלוֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָם יִשְׁלָיוּ אֹהֲבָיִךְ׃ יְהִי־שָׁלוֹם בְּחֵילֵךְ שַׁלְוָה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָיִךְ.
Sha’alu sh’lom Y’rushaláyim yishláyu ohaváich:
Y’hi shalom b’cheilech, shalvah b’armenotáich.
Pray for the well-being of Jerusalem; May those who love you be at peace. May there be well-being within your ramparts, peace in your citadels. (Psalms 122:6-7) Amen.
In the Ashkenazi tradition Yizkor (Hebrew for “May he remember”) is recited for the dead during Synagogue services on Shavuot – on day 2 for those who observe two days. Among Sefardim, those called to the Torah may recite Ashkavah (אַשְׁכָּבָה “laying to rest”; the prayer is also known as Hashkavah) for their dead relatives.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
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, conflicts, 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 all violence.
This coming week, the 4th through the 10th of Sivan, 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
Being a part of, contributing to and connecting with Temple Kol Hamidbar helps us fulfill our three-fold purpose as a Beit Tefillah (House of Prayer), a Beit Midrash (House of Study) and a Beit Knesset (House of Community).
Although more of us have gotten or are getting vaccinated most of our members are in the high-risk age and health categories, and so gathering in person is still a bit in the future. We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, May 14, 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 Num. 2:1-3:13
Time: May 14, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: May 14, 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!