MAY BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
Mazal Tov – Mazal Bueno to all those celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or significant event during the Month of May. If we were together at Temple Kol Hamidbar, we would extend a Tallit over you, say a special prayer for you, and recite the following blessing (cf Num. 6:24-26):
- May the Eternal One bless you and protect you!
- May the Eternal One deal kindly and graciously with you!
- May the Eternal One bestow favor upon you and grant you peace!
KËIN YEHI RATZON (Let it be so!)
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/kdoshim
Kedoshim (קְדֹשִׁים — [You Shall Be] Holy) – Leviticus 19:1-20:27
The Eternal One spoke to Moses saying: “Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the Eternal your God, am holy.” – Leviticus 19:1-2
- God issues a variety of commandments, instructing the Israelites on how to be a holy people. (19:1-37)
- Various sex offenses are discussed and punishments for them are presented. (20:1-27)
Ashkenazi: Amos 9:7-15 (Shabbat after Pesach) and Sephardi: Ezekiel 20:2–20
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/acharei-mot-ii
By: Barbara Weinstein
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Leviticus.19.1-20.27
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
קדשים K’doshim – Leviticus 19:1-20:27
A Call to Holiness by S. Tamar Kamionkowski, p.701
Parashat K’doshim (“holy”) stands at the physical center of the Torah, coming roughly at the midway point between Genesis 1 and Deuteronomy 34. We move into this Torah portion on the heels of a series of sexual taboos (Leviticus 18), and we will end the parashah with a parallel list of taboos (Leviticus 20). Between these two sections, we encounter one of the most beautiful and inspiring passages in the Torah, Leviticus 19. This passage contains a series of seemingly disparate laws covering the gamut from ritual, criminal, and civil legislation to commandments addressing attitudes. The laws touch upon what people do in the privacy of their own homes, how they conduct their business, what they are thinking, and how they worship together. The modern distinctions between criminal, civil, and religious law have absolutely no application in this text.
The primary theme that emerges time and again in Leviticus 19 is the preservation of holiness. “You shall be holy, for I, your God יהוה, am holy.” All the commandments are set within the context that God is holy and that we ought to strive toward holiness in every aspect of our lives.
Holiness here differs radically from what we have encountered in previous Torah texts. Leviticus 19 offers a fundamentally new vision of holiness, one that has the potential to bring women and other disenfranchised populations within Israel into the realm of holiness. No longer limited to the male, hereditary priesthood, parashat K’doshim democratizes access to and relationship with the Divine in a new way.
Within the particular laws of this parashah, women figure rather prominently as we hear about mothers, daughters, wives, and slaves. The tendency is to protect the rights of women in particularly vulnerable positions. We might wish for equality, and thus a complete dismantling of the practice of categorizing women only in relation to men in the biblical period. The Holiness Code (Leviticus 17-26) does not go that far; however, it is somewhat progressive given its ancient context.
Another View – by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, p. 716
Parashat K’doshim articulates more comprehensively than any other portion of the Torah what it means for persons and community to be holy. Dictionary definitions of the Bible’s concept of holiness emphasize the notion of separation. In parashat K’doshim, however, holiness comes from cultivating relationships. Connections–not only separations–define the holy community: the connection to parents whom one must honor, to the poor and the disadvantaged whom one must protect, to the neighbor and stranger whom one must love, and of course to God.
God commands Israel to “love” three times in the Torah. One case is in the text that follows the Sh’ma (“You shall love your God יהוה with all your heart,” Deuteronomy 6:5), known as the V’ahavta. Our parashah mentions the other two commands: to love the one who is a member of one’s group (“Love your fellow [Israelite] as yourself,” 19:18); and finally, to love the stranger (19:34). Loving the stranger is a unique notion in the ancient world. The verse’s rationale for loving the stranger–“for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”–has continuing ramifications that are often overlooked: the proper response to having suffered abuse is not vengeance or special entitlement, but rather sensitivity and determination to prevent such an abuse of others, including strangers. The three commandments are three dimensions of a single, deep connection: to love God is to love others, those like us and those who are not.
Ruth the Moabite stands as the exemplar of what it means to love, including loving the stranger. While still in the land of Moab, Ruth vows an undying loyalty to Naomi, Naomi’s people, and Naomi’s God (Ruth 1:16–17). After she arrives in Bethlehem, Ruth’s behavior and commitment become a model for others: Boaz acknowledges that his kindness to Ruth is prompted by her prior generosity to Naomi (2:11); and the women of the town proclaim that Naomi’s eventual reversal of fortune came about because of “your daughter-in-law, who loves you” (4:15). Even without using the word kadosh (“holy”), the story of Ruth points to the transformation that the “love commandments” in this parashah can bring about–and to the ways that these precepts serve to sanctify life and community.
COUNTING OF THE ‘ÓMER
We are in the 49-day period of Counting the ‘Ómer, which this year began Saturday evening, April 16 and continues until Shavuot, which starts the evening of Saturday, June 4. The ‘Ómer is counted each evening.
Today, Friday, day 21 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 echad v’esrim yom, shehëm sh’loshah shavu’ot la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is 21 days, which is three weeks 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 selection is from the fourth chapter.
From Sefaria.org https://www.sefaria.org/Pirkei_Avot.4
1: Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from every man, as it is said: “From all who taught me have I gained understanding” (Psalms 119:99). Who is mighty? He who subdues his [evil] inclination, as it is said: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city” (Proverbs 16:3). Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot, as it is said: “You shall enjoy the fruit of your labors, you shall be happy and you shall prosper” (Psalms 128:2) “You shall be happy” in this world, “and you shall prosper” in the world to come. Who is he that is honored? He who honors his fellow human beings as it is said: “For I honor those that honor Me, but those who spurn Me shall be dishonored” (I Samuel 2:30).
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 abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific 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, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 6 Iyar through 12 Iyar, we lovingly remember:
Grandson of Harvey Ross
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, May 6, 2022.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this Friday evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Kedoshim (triennial part) Lev. 19:15-20:27
Time: May 6, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: May 6, 2022 07:30 PM Arizona
To join 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!
PS – upcoming important dates:
Pesach Sheni – Sa-Su May 14-15, 2022
Yom Yerushalayim – Sa-Su May 28-29