TORAH READING FOR 30 AV 5782 SHMITAH Aug 26-27, 2022
Blessed are you, the Eternal One our God, sovereign of all creation who made the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, creeping things, and the animals of the earth, including us in your image and after your likeness. You command us to look after and take care of the earth and all her life. Blessed are you, the Eternal One, creator of every living thing that moves on the earth.
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/reih
R’eih [Re’ëh] (רְאֵה – Hebrew for “see”) – Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17
See, this day I set before you blessing and curse. – Deuteronomy 11:26
- God places both blessing and curse before the Israelites. They are taught that blessing will come through the observance of God’s laws. (11:26–32)
- Moses’ third discourse includes laws about worship in a central place (12:1–28); injunctions against idolatry (12:29–13:19) and self-mutilation (14:1–2); dietary rules (14:3–21); and laws about tithes (14:22–25), debt remission (15:1–11), the release and treatment of Hebrew slaves (15:12–18), and firstlings (15:19–23).
- Moses reviews the correct sacrifices to be offered during the Pilgrim Festivals—Pesach, Sukkot, and Shavuot. (16:1-17)
Isaiah 54:11-55:5 [historic: Isaiah 66:1-24] Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Elul
The third of seven haftarot of consolation leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which this year begins the evening of Sunday, September 25, 2022.
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/reih
By: Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin [Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai, Oakland CA]
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portions at https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.11.26-16.17
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
ראה R’eih – Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17
Laws and Loyalty by Beth Alpert Nakhai, pp. 1115-1116
PARASHAT R’EIH (“see”) introduces the legal collection that extends from Deuteronomy 12 to 26. Like the two other major biblical collections of legal material (the Book of the Covenant in Exodus 21–24 and the priestly legislation in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers), these laws are conceived of as part of the covenantal relationship between Israel and God, with responsibilities incumbent upon both parties. The legal collection here offers a unifying vision of Israel: it insists on absolute loyalty to the one God–and to God’s Chosen Place, the sole official shrine.
According to Deuteronomy 1:5, the location for the expounding of these laws is the land of Moab, east of the Jordan River, before Israel enters the land. This would be during the 2nd millennium B.C.E., according to the implied chronology and the imagined “original” audience…. But historians believe that these laws were actually complied in the 7th century B.C.E. or later, and that they comprise part of the “book of the torah (Teaching),” the phrase used in Deuteronomy to refer to the exhortations and laws in this book (not to the so-call Five Books of Moses). According to II Kings 22 (and II Chronicles 34:14–28), a reportedly similar “book of the torah” is discovered during the reign of King Josiah, in the midst of renovations of the Temple. The King orders his scribes to consult with the female prophet Huldah, who authenticates the scroll. Its laws represent a reform of earlier traditions and of existing practice. The book of Kings further reports that King Josiah implemented some of those reforms in about 622 B.C.E. (On the economic aspects of this “reform,” see at 12:2–3.)
The laws in this parashah (like those in the three portions that follow) contain various precepts designed to regulate activity in the Promised Land and to bind Israel to its God. The parashah includes rules about many aspects of life: the consumption of meat (12:15–28; 14:3–21; 15:21–23), avoidance of the local non-Israelite peoples’ worship practices (12:30–31; 13:6–18; 14:1–2), true and false prophecy (13:1–5), tithing (14:28), remission of debts (15:1–6), care for the needy (15:7–11), debt-slavery (15:12–17), dedication of first-born male animals (15:19–20), and the pilgrimage festivals (16:1–17).
While the legislation here applies to all Israel, several teachings at first glance seem to address only the presumably male heads of household (12:7–8, 12, 18; 13:7; 15:20; 16:11, 14). This raises the following questions: What about their wives, who are not mentioned? Furthermore, are all of these laws intended only for men and not for women? The answers are not always clear. However, some laws implicitly address everyone, such as those that regulate diet (14:3–21). Others explicitly include women, as when they are expected to attend festive celebrations at Israel’s official sanctuary (12:12, 18; 16:11, 14).
A powerful theme in parashat R’eih, alongside the prominent concern for the loyal worship of Israel’s God alone, is caring for the needy. It is possible that a concern for women’s welfare lies behind certain economic legislation to protect the vulnerable (see at 14:29), since women were often at risk in ancient Israelite society.
Another View – by Carol Meyers, p. 1134
AN IMPORTANT ISSUE in this parashah is the centralization of religious life at the one chosen sanctuary. Yet the wording of several instructions raises at least two questions about the inclusion of women.
First, daughters and female slaves are commanded to celebrate two of the pilgrimage festivals–Shavuot (16:11) and Sukkot (16:14), but not Passover (16:5–8)–along with marginal individuals like widows and orphans. (See also 12:12.) But why are wives not mentioned? The command addressed to the head of household apparently includes the man’s wife as the senior female of the household; the head of the household, when male, thus stands for both members of the conjugal pair …. This implicit inclusion of the wife perhaps authorizes her to act on behalf of her husband should he be unable for any reason to make the pilgrimage trip. In fact, listing her separately would have precluded her status as “second-in-command.”
The summary of the stipulations for the three pilgrim festivals presents a second problem, for it specifies that “all your males” shall come to the Chosen Place (16:16). Why are women not mentioned? Some have suggested that Deuteronomy exempts women because the journey might be too difficult for them, especially those with young children. But another possibility acknowledges that agrarian households included animals that could not be left untended for close to two weeks (the weeklong holiday plus travel time). As the chief household managers (see Proverbs 31:10–31), women were the natural ones to maintain the household at such times. Thus, the all-inclusive injunction for everyone to participate in the Sukkot festival every seventh year that is found elsewhere in Deuteronomy (31:10–12) may be idealistic. Alternatively, the insistence on women’s participation on that occasion may emphasize that they too should experience the special covenant renewal of the seventh-year celebration.
Twenty-first century expectations for gender equality in the Torah are unrealistic. Because Israelite society was organized by lineage units, Deuteronomy addresses many of its instructions to the heads of households (usually male), who bear the main responsibility for fulfilling the Torah’s cultic requirements. Yet, although women often are not addressed explicitly in the pilgrimage regulations, they are not forbidden to participate; in fact, several texts indicate their presence. In this respect, the festival commands of Deuteronomy seem more inclusive than comparable rules in Exodus (compare Exodus 23:14–17).
SHABBAT ROSH CHODESH ELUL אֱלוּל
Begins at sundown on Friday, August 26, 2022 and ends at nightfall on Sunday, August 28, 2022. Elul is the sixth month of the Hebrew calendar and the twelfth of the civil calendar, and has 29 days. It signals a period of preparation for Rosh Hashanah.
ROSH HASHANA LABEHEMOT / רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לְמַעְשַׂר בְּהֵמָה
New Year for Tithing Animals
Rosh Hashana LaBehemot for Hebrew Year 5782 begins at sundown on Saturday, 27 August 2022 and ends at nightfall on Sunday, 28 August 2022.
Rosh Hashanah L’Ma’sar Behemah (Hebrew: ראש השנה למעשר בהמה “New Year for Tithing Animals”) or Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot (Hebrew: ראש השנה לבהמות “New Year for (Domesticated) Animals”) is one of the four New Year’s day festivals (Rosh Hashanot) in the Jewish calendar as indicated in the Mishnah. [The others are Rosh Hashanah, Tu Bishvat, and Pesach.] During the time of the Temple, this was a day on which shepherds determined which of their mature animals were to be tithed. The day coincides with Rosh Chodesh Elul, the New Moon for the month of Elul, exactly one month before Rosh Hashanah.
Modern Day Reminder
From Hazon.org https://hazon.org/commit-to-change/holidays/new-year-animals/
Just as Tu B’Shvat has been revived as a Jewish Earth Day, Rosh Hashanah La’Behemot is a modern-day reminder of human relationships with animals. Animals provide humans with companionship, food, clothing and so much more. Rosh Hashanah La’Behemot is a time for us to honor our relationships with behemot, the animals in our lives.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
ROSH CHODESH – AVODAH INSERT p.174
Our God and God of our fathers and mothers, on this first day of the new month (of Elul) be mindful of us and all Your people Israel, for good, for love, for compassion, life and peace. Remember us for wellbeing. Amen. Visit us with blessing. Amen. Help us to a fuller life. Amen.
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, the 30th of Av through the 6th of Elul, we lovingly remember:
Virginia Bloom Way
Mother of Diana Turner
Sister of Jane Kolber
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, August 26, 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 – Re’ëh (triennial part) Deut. 15:1-16:17
Time: Aug 26, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Aug 26, 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.
Ketivah Vechatima Tovah – A Good Writing and Sealing!
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!