TORAH READING FOR 13 IYAR 5782 SHMITAH May 13-14, 2022
From Reform Judaism 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)
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/emor
By: Rabbi Ellen Nemhauser
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Leviticus.21.1-24.23
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
אמר Emor – Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Preserving the Holiness of Priests, Times, and Spaces by Hilary Lipka, p.723
Parashat Emor (“say”) continues the holiness-centered legislation of the previous parashah. It, too, is part of the Holiness Code–the collection of laws in Leviticus 17-26, which modern critical scholars refer to as “H” and attribute to a specific group of reform-minded priests.
This parashah contains instructions concerning the sanctity of the priests and the sacrificial offerings, the weekly Sabbath and annual festivals, and the maintenance of the Tabernacle lamp and showbread. The parashah ends with a story about the crime and punishment of a blasphemer. It also includes brief legal conclusions about damages governed by the retaliation principle (Latin: lex talionis; sometimes referred to via the biblical expression “eye for an eye”). In discussing the priests, the writers distinguish between three types: the chief priest, other priests who may officiate, and those who may receive some of the benefits but cannot carry out public roles because of disqualifying circumstances.
Several issues related to women arise in parashat Emor. Leviticus 21 provides strict guidelines for priests regarding various areas of family life, including which women in their family they can bury, which women they can marry, and how they must respond to a daughter’s sexual misbehavior. Leviticus 22, discussing who may partake of the priest’s portion of the sacred donations, addresses the question of when a priest’s daughter is considered a part of his household and would thus be entitled to part of her father’s share. Additionally, 24:10–14 mentions Shelomith, daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan, one of the few named individuals in all of Leviticus, and the only named woman. Shelomith’s unnamed son, whose father is an unnamed Egyptian, commits an act of blasphemy, and the Israelite judicial system must determine how to respond to this crime. This episode raises the question of who in the community must comply with the divine commandments.
Another View – by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, p. 741
A priest may not come in contact with a corpse except when the deceased is a close relative (21:1–3). The list of relatives does not mention the wife.
How do we account for the text’s silence concerning the wife? The Torah gives two examples of a husband’s burying a wife: Abraham buries Sara (Genesis 23), and Jacob buries Rachel (Genesis 35). But these cases do not pertain to priests and thus do not shed light on this law.
One could claim that the wife’s absence from the list of relatives reflects her more marginal status. As Katarzyna Grosz observes after studying documents from the 14th century B.C.E., “women do not become members of their husband’s lineage–only their children do…[The women] could be termed as a ‘foreign element’ in their husbands’ families” (“Some Aspects of the Position of Women in Nuzi,” in Women’s Earliest Records, ed. B. S. Lesko, 1989, p. 178.)
Yet one could also argue the reverse: no mention is made because none is necessary–because the wife is included ipso facto. Three lines of evidence support this interpretation. First is the idea that Leviticus 20:11 expresses about a unity between husband and wife. According to the verse, the nakedness of the mother is equivalent to that of the father, implying that the two are as one. Second, Genesis 2:24 expresses the unity of the couple by stating that the two become one flesh. Third, the Torah is several places includes a wife without mentioning her (see at Leviticus 10:14); in other words, the writer expects readers to keep wives in mind.
While both interpretations remain plausible in parashat Emor, neither can be confirmed.
If a priest may not bury his wife, who then buries her? The law in parashat Emor permits the priest to bury his mother, and thus a priest’s wife can definitely be buried by her son. If there is no son, then the female members of the household, or members of her family of origin (if they are not priests) can still come in contact with her corpse and bury her.
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 28 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’monah v’esrim yom, shehëm arba’ah shavu’ot la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is 28 days, which is four 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 are two selections from the fifth chapter.
From Sefaria.org https://www.sefaria.org/Pirkei_Avot.5
7: [There are] seven things [characteristic] in a clod, and seven in a wise man: A wise man does not speak before one who is greater than he in wisdom, And does not break into his fellow’s speech; And is not hasty to answer; He asks what is relevant, and he answers to the point; And he speaks of the first [point] first, and of the last [point] last; And concerning that which he has not heard, he says: I have not heard; And he acknowledges the truth. And the reverse of these [are characteristic] in a clod.
16: All love that depends on a something, [when the] thing ceases, [the] love ceases; and [all love] that does not depend on anything, will never cease. What is an example of love that depended on a something? Such was the love of Amnon for Tamar. And what is an example of love that did not depend on anything? Such was the love of David and Jonathan.
PESACH SHENI (Second Passover) – Sa-Su May 14-15, 2022
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesach_Sheni
Day to make up the Korban Pesach (Paschal lamb sacrifice) if missed on Passover. Pesach Sheni occurs every year on 14 Iyar. This is exactly one month after 14 Nisan, the day before Passover, which was the day prescribed for bringing the Korban Pesach (“Paschal offering”, i.e. Passover lamb) in anticipation of that holiday. In several Hasidic groups, the rebbe conducts a tish on Pesach Sheni. [Some people have a Seder and others simply eat Matza to commemorate it.]
In this regard, on May 10, 2022, Dr. Sam Caron forwarded an email from the Religious Support Office (RSO) of Fort Huachuca. The RSO is providing a Second Seder Observance at the Main Post Chapel Activities Room, on Sunday, May 15, at 1500 hours to 1900 hours (3:00 PM to 7:00 PM). Matza ball soup, popcorn and a movie will be provided. The event is free, and everyone is welcome. For more information call the RSO at 520-533-4748.
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, 13 Iyar through 19 Iyar, we lovingly remember:
Temple Kol Hamidbar Memorial Board, sister of Holly Sickles
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 13, 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 – Emor (triennial part) Lev. 23:23-24:23
Time: May 13, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: May 13, 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:
Lag BaOmer/Lag B’Omer/Lag LaOmer [Ashkenazi 33rd Day] – W-T May 18-19, 2022
LaD BaOmer [Sefardi 34th Day] – Thu-Fri May 19-20, 2022
Yom Yerushalayim – Sa-Su May 28-29