TORAH READING FOR 11 ADAR 5783 Mar 3-4, 2023
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/ttzaveh
T’tzaveh (תְּצַוֶּה — [You] Shall Further Instruct) – Exodus 27:20−30:10
You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly. – Exodus 27:20
- The children of Israel are commanded to bring pure olive oil for the ner tamid “a constantly burning light,” above the sanctuary. (27:20-21)
- Aaron and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, are chosen to serve as priests. (28:1)
- God instructs Moses to make special clothes for the priests. (28:2-43)
- Aaron and his sons are ordained in a seven-day ceremony (29:1-29:46)
- Aaron is commanded to burn incense on an acacia altar every morning and evening. (30:1-10)
HAFTARAH – Shabbat Zachor
Esther 7:1-10; 8:15-17
[historic: Ashkenazi I Samuel 15:2-34; Sephardic I Samuel 15:1-34]
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetzaveh
Connection to the Special Sabbath
[In addition to Ex.27:20-30:10, on] Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath just before Purim, Jews read Deuteronomy 25:17–19, which instructs Jews: “Remember (זָכוֹר, zachor) what Amalek did” in attacking the Israelites. The [historic] haftarah for Shabbat Zachor, 1 Samuel 15:2–34 or 1–34, describes Saul’s encounter with Amalek and Saul’s and Samuel’s treatment of the Amalekite king Agag. Purim, in turn, commemorates the story of Esther (said to be a descendant of Saul in some rabbinic literature) and the Jewish people’s victory over Haman’s plan to kill the Jews, told in the book of Esther. Esther 3:1 identifies Haman as an Agagite, and thus a descendant of Amalek. Numbers 24:7 identifies the Agagites with the Amalekites. Alternatively, a Midrash tells the story that between King Agag’s capture by Saul and his killing by Samuel, Agag fathered a child, from whom Haman in like turn descended.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/ttzaveh
By: Jonathan K. Crane
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
For Torah Study, instead of the portion from the Book of Exodus that is read on this Shabbat, we will read the Haftarah (a selection from the prophets) from I Samuel 15:1-34. You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Exodus.27.20-30.10, the maftir portion https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.25.17-19, and the Haftarah we will be studying at https://www.sefaria.org/I_Samuel.15.1-34
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
תצוה T’tzaveh – Exodus 27:20-30:10
Post-biblical Interpretations – by Laura Lieber, pp. 490-491
You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil … for kindling lamps regularly (27:20). Reflecting on this commandment about kindling lights, medieval commentators offered two possible interpretations of the phrase ner tamid (literally “light regularly” but understood to mean “eternal lamp”). Rashi suggested it meant “routinely kindled,” while Nachmanides understood it as “continually burning.” In general, the latter interpretation–the image of an eternal, rather than a regularly kindled, light–predominated. In the rabbinic imagination, the eternal lamp of the synagogue recalled the menorah of Temple times, since rabbinic tradition associated the ner tamid with the westernmost or central lamp of the menorah in the Temple (Sifra Emor 13.7). In a poem composed for the occasion of this Torah reading, the Byzantine Jewish liturgical poet Yannai drew a parallel between the synagogue’s eternal lamp and that of the “woman of valor,” whose “lamp never goes out at night” (Proverbs 31:18).
The Rabbis understood the eternal lamp as an important symbol with multiple meanings. First, they associated the light with Torah. For example, BT B’rachot 57a teaches: “If one sees olive oil in a dream, one may hope for the light of the Torah, as it is written, You shall further instruct…” This association derives from Proverbs 6:23, which states: The commandment is a lamp / And the Torah is a light. The song “Torah Orah (The Torah is Light),” popular in many contemporary synagogues during the Torah services, reflects this symbolism.
The Rabbis frequently represented the eternal lamp as symbolic of the divine presence, or Shechinah. In BT M’nachot 87b, the Rabbis wonder why God would need a light; they then deduce that the eternal lamp commemorated the divine light that had led Israel through the wilderness. The reason the eternal lamp was the “western lamp” was because “the divine Presence will never depart from the Western Wall” (Midrash Sh’mot Rabbah 2.2). Over time, the ritual of the Temple lamp was transferred to the home. Thus, Mishnah Shabbat 2:1 offers instructions for kindling Shabbat lights, which 2:6 then characterizes as a specifically female commandment. Yannai read those Mishnaic passages back into Exodus, linking the priestly rules for maintaining the Tabernacle’s lights with women’s command of hadlakat nerot, kindling lamps.
The eternal lamp was also understood in post-biblical Judaism as foreshadowing the light of the messianic age. The lamps described in this parashah were popular in Byzantine and medieval synagogue art. These images, themselves multivalent, may have both memorialized the Temple destroyed in 70 C.E. and also anticipated a time when the Temple lamps would be rekindled. As the poet Yannai wrote of those days to come, “And our light will no longer be quenched / and our flames no longer extinguished / and You shall be our everlasting light.”
The medieval mystical compilation Zohar (2:99b) offers a spiritual understanding of the ner tamid when it states that “ner” is an acronym for n’shamah-ruach (“soul-spirit”). Together, soul and spirit represent a perfect union of masculine and feminine. Together, they can bring forth light; but separated, they are powerless and in the dark.
Make sacral vestments for your brother Aaron (28:2). The Rabbis taught that each item of the head priest’s ritual garb possessed symbolic value. The fringed tunic atoned for bloodshed; the robe, for slander; the breeches, for sexual impropriety; the headdress, for arrogance; the frontlet, for brazenness; the sash, for impure thoughts; the breastplate, for neglect of the civil laws; and the ephod, for idolatry (BT Z’vachim 88b; Vayikra Rabbah 10.6; Shir HaShirim Rabbah 4.8). According to BT Sotah 36b, it was Joseph’s desire to have his name engraved upon the ephod (along with the names of his brothers) that restrained him from succumbing to temptation with Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39).
According to the Zohar, “All the priestly garments were emblematic of supernal mystery” (2:231a). This mystical reading focuses on the layered nature of the vestments, which indicate a balancing of dualities: left and right, soul and body, and male and female. The primordial human whom God created (Genesis 1)–this passage teaches–was a singular creature, both male and female, but the two halves were joined at the back, facing away from each other. God separated this single entity into two, and “thus they [the first woman and first man] were brought face to face, [and] love was multiplied in the world.” Unfortunately, this physical division also led to emotional estrangement, jealousy, and strife. The unity of the ephod and breastplate (which were worn together) recalled the original unity of the first woman and the first man and, by extension, of all humankind.
PURIM – March 6-7, 2023 – 14 Adar 5783
Celebration of Jewish deliverance as told by Megilat Esther
Purim for Hebrew Year 5783 begins at sundown on Monday, 6 March 2023 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, 7 March 2023.
Purim (Hebrew: פּוּרִים, Pûrîm “lots”, from the word פור pur, also called the Festival of Lots) is a Jewish holiday which commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman in the ancient Persian Empire, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther [usually dated to the 5th century BCE]). Read more about Purim at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim and Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/what-shushan-purim
We will have a Purim spiel and celebration on Zoom starting at 7 PM Monday, March 6. Please see the email dated February 27, 2023 containing the link and specific meeting id-passcode for this “PUZOOM” event.
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, 11 Adar through 17 Adar, we lovingly remember:
Friend of Jane Kolber
Edmund Burke Harris
Father of Rachel Harris
Aunt of Ida Farmer
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, March 3, 2023. For the next few months we will read and discuss the Haftarah, each selection from the prophets following the weekly Torah Portion.
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 – Haftarah Tetzaveh: I Samuel 5:1-34
Time: Mar 3, 2023 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Mar 3, 2023 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/Gut Shabbos
PS – About the Book of Samuel:
From Jewish Encyclopedia
From My Jewish Learning
Timelines from Wikipedia