From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bchukotai
B’chukotai (בְּחֻקֹּתי — Hebrew for “My Laws”) – Leviticus 26:3-27:34
If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit. – Lev. 26:3-4
- God promises blessings to the Children of Israel if they follow the law and warns about the curses that will befall the people if they do not observe God’s commandments. (26:1-46)
- Gifts made to the Sanctuary whether by conditional vows or by unconditional acts of pious gratitude are discussed. (27:1-34)
This Parsha ends the Book of Leviticus. Upon completing a book of Torah Ashkenazi Jews shout “Chazak! Chazak! Venit-chazëk” which is translated as “Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!” The Sephardic custom is to say “Chazak U’baruch” (“strength and blessing”) at the end of every single individual Torah reading; the response is “Chazak Ve’ematz” (“be strong and have courage” from Deut. 31:23) or “Baruch Tihiye” (“may you be blessed.”)
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bchukotai
By: Rabbi Esther L. Lederman
Early in this week’s parashah, we encounter the following phrase: V’yashan mipnei chadash totziu – You shall have to clear out the old to make room for the new.
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Leviticus.26.3-27.34
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
בחקתי B’chukotai – Leviticus 26:3-27:34
Enduring Obedience to God, and the Sanctuary’s Welfare by Hilary Lipka, p.765
Parashat B’chukotai (“my laws”) concludes Leviticus, a book devoted to instructing the people of Israel how to conduct their lives in keeping with their status as God’s people. The first part of the parashah seeks to ensure obedience to these instructions by providing strong motivation in the form of a series of blessings and curses. God, through Moses, promises the people prosperity and peace if they follow the path laid out by God; and God threatens them with famine, war, and eventually exile, if they choose to spurn God’s laws and commandments (26:3–46). The second part of the parashah (27:1–34) is an appendix that addresses issues related to communal funding, especially of the priesthood and of the sanctuary.
Explicit information about women in these passages, while scant, does shed some additional light on their status and the nature of their household responsibilities in ancient Israel. Especially significant for our understanding of the status of women in this culture is the material in 27:3–7, which lists monetary equivalents for the worth of individuals whose services are vowed to the temple. Leviticus, we learn, bases these assessments and values on a combination of factors of age and gender (see also Another View, …[below]).
In addition, the content of 27:1–25, which deals with vows and gifts of property to the temple, touches upon several other issues that relate to the lives of women in ancient Israel, such as whose vows were binding and under what conditions, who could partake in the priests’ portion of sacrificial animals (a major source of food for priests and their households), and who could inherit and possess property. While Leviticus 27 does not directly deal with these issues, all of them are crucial for those wishing to understand the significance of the instruction in this text for women in ancient Israel.
The explicit reference in 26:26 to women who bake bread further highlights the lives of women.
Another View – by Carol Meyers, p. 780
The concluding unit of Leviticus concerns the economic support base, in the form of vowed resources, for ancient Israel’s central shrine. The first set of such votary pledges, Leviticus 27:2–8, involves the equivalence in silver of persons according to categories of gender and age, with separate assessments listed for females and males in four age groups. Because of the greater monetary values assigned to males in each age category, scholars have sometimes understood this table of valuations as an expression of gender bias, with females considered inherently less valuable than males.
However, many commentators now understand that this table relates mainly to labor potential rather than to intrinsic worth. The highest monetary values appear for persons of ages twenty to sixty; such people would be considered mature adults, given the fact that biblical census texts list males of age twenty and above (namely, those who might be conscripted into military service; see Number 1:3). That the youngest age category is that of one- to five-year-olds can be explained by presuming that ancient Israel was like many premodern agrarian societies in expecting children of very young ages to perform simple household tasks. Perhaps because of average differences in physical strength, women or girls were deemed to have a lower productive capacity than males of the same age, and thus Leviticus 27 assigns them a somewhat lower valuation in all categories.
The differential shekel values attached to females and males provide an insight into the labor patterns in Israelite households and the associated status of women. The best way to view the table is to sum the value of the two genders in each age bracket, thus obtaining the combined labor value of a female-male pair of workers in each category; then we can compare the contribution of each gender to this total amount. Except for the five to twenty category, in which childbearing (presumably beginning at puberty) might reduce the labor potential of females, the female percentage of that combined female-male amount is at or near 40 percent. Social scientists who study the relative contributions of women and men to household labor in various cultures have noted that a 2:3 female-to-male ratio, with women supplying 40 percent of the subsistence labor, correlates with the maximum prestige for women. Thus the table of valuations in Leviticus 27 is hardly a reflection of female inferiority but rather provides evidence of a positive estimation of women.
COUNTING OF THE ‘ÓMER
We are nearing the end of 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 42 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 shna’im v’arba’im yom, shehëm shishah shavu’ot la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is 42 days, which is six 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 is a selection from the sixth chapter.
Rabbi Meir said: Whoever occupies himself with the Torah for its own sake, merits many things; not only that but he is worth the whole world.
YOM YERUSHALAYIM (Jerusalem Day) – יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלַיִם
From Hebcal.com https://www.hebcal.com/holidays/yom-yerushalayim
Yom Yerushalayim for Hebrew Year 5782 begins at sundown on Saturday, 28 May 2022 and ends at nightfall on Sunday, 29 May 2022. Jerusalem Day … is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in June 1967. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel declared Jerusalem Day a minor religious holiday to thank G-d for victory in the Six-Day War and for answering the 2,000-year-old prayer of “Next Year in Jerusalem”.
ROSH CHODESH SIVAN
Begins at sundown on Monday, 30 May 2022 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, 31 May 2022. Sivan (סִיוָן) is the 3rd month of the Hebrew year and has 30 days. Shavuot takes place in Sivan.
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 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, 27 Iyar through 4 Sivan, we lovingly remember:
TKH Memorial Board, founding member
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 27, 2022.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Bechukotai (triennial part) Lev. 27:1-34
Time: May 27, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: May 27, 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 – Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
Upcoming important dates:
Yom Yerushalayim – Sa-Su May 28-29, 2022
Shavuot – Sa-M June 4-6, 2022