TORAH READING FOR 29 IYAR 5783 May 19-20, 2023
YERUSHALAYIM SHEL ZAHAV
Jerusalem all of gold/ Jerusalem, bronze and light/
Within my heart I shall treasure/ Your song and sight.
By Naomi Shemer 1967, melody based on an old Basque Lullaby
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bmidbar
B’midbar (בְּמִדבַּר — Hebrew for “In the Wilderness”) – Numbers 1:1−4:20
On the first day of the second month, in the second year following the exodus from the land of Egypt, the Eternal One spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, saying: “Take a census of the whole Israelite company…” – Numbers 1:1-2
- God commands Moses to take a census of all the Israelite males over the age of twenty. (1:1-46)
- The duties of the Levites, who are not included in the census, are detailed. (1:47-51)
- Each tribe is assigned specific places in the camp around the Tabernacle. (1:52-2:34)
- The sons of Levi are counted and their responsibilities are set forth. (3:1-3:39)
- A census of the firstborn males is taken and a special redemption tax is levied on them. (3:40-51)
- God instructs Moses and Aaron regarding the responsibilities of Aaron and his sons, and the duties assigned to the Kohathites. (4:1-20)
HAFTARAH – Shabbat Machar Chodesh
Hosea 2:1-22 [historic: I Samuel 20:18-42]
Machar Chodesh I Samuel (Historic Haftarah) [The Haftarah Commentary, p.596]
Connection of haftarah and festival:
Whenever Rosh Chodesh (the festival of the New Moon) falls on Sunday, this haftarah is read on the day before, for its first sentence contains the words “Tomorrow is the New Moon.” While this is the obvious reason for choosing the selection, the Sages may also have felt that the content of the haftarah speaks of true friendship, the ultimate harmony of human life. Similarly does the recurrence of the new moon bespeak the harmony of the heavens.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bmidbar
Seeing Ourselves in the Sacred Story
By: Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
For Torah Study, instead of the portion from the Book of Numbers that is read on this Shabbat, we will read the historic Haftarah (a selection from the prophets) from I Samuel 20:18-42. You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Numbers.1.1-4.20, and the Haftarah at https://www.sefaria.org/I_Samuel.20.18-42
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
במדבר B’midbar – Numbers 1:1-4:20
Post-biblical Interpretations – by Judith R. Baskin, pp. 809-10
יהוה spoke to Moses in the wilderness (1:1). Midrash B’midbar Rabbah 1.2 connects this verse with Jeremiah 2:31: “O generation, behold the word of יהוה! Have I been like a wilderness to Israel?” and explains that compared to slavery in Egypt, the wilderness experience was luxurious. Furthermore, according to this midrash, God assigned three mentors to sustain Israel in the wilderness: Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Due to the merits of Moses, the people ate manna; due to the merits of Aaron, God encircled Israel with clouds of glory; and due to the merits of Miriam, a miraculous well accompanied them. The passage continues, “How was the well constructed? It was rock-shaped like a kind of beehive, and wherever they journeyed it rolled along and came with them.” When the Israelites stopped and the portable Tabernacle was erected, the well would establish itself in the Tent of Meeting. “Then the leaders of the tribes would come and stand upon it and say, ‘Spring up, O well!’ (21:17) and it would rise.”
The Israelites shall camp each man with his standard, under the banners of their ancestral house (2:2). B’midbar Rabbah 2.7 relates that each tribe had a different colored flag, corresponding to the precious stones on Aaron’s breastplate. For example, “Reuben’s stone was ruby and the color of his flag was red, and embroidered on it were mandrakes.” (On mandrakes, see Genesis 30:14–15.) “Judah’s stone was a carbuncle and the color of his flag was something like the heavens; embroidered on it was a lion.” This midrash adds that the nations of the world provided themselves with distinctive flags based on Israel’s example.
But Nadab and Abihu died by the will of יהוה …and they left no sons (3:4). Midrash P’sikta D’Rav Kahana 26.9 explains that one of the reasons for the mysterious deaths of Aaron’s sons was their arrogance in refusing to marry, even though the chief priest was commanded to make atonement for himself and “his household” (Leviticus 16:6). The midrash explains that “his household” (literally “his house”) signifies “his wife” and relates that “many young women sat grieving, waiting in vain to be asked in marriage by Nadab or Abihu.” But the young men said, “Our father’s brother [Moses] is king (Deuteronomy 33:5), our mother’s brother [Nahshon] is prince (Exodus 6:23; Numbers 2:3), our father is chief priest; we are adjutants of the chief priest. What women are worthy of us?”
So it was Eleazar and Ithamar who served as priests in the lifetime of their father Aaron (3:4). The Rabbis were interested in how Aaron, Eleazar, and Ithamar shared their duties as priests. B’midbar Rabbah 2.26 reports that when one of those men was incapacitated, one of the others took on the role of chief priest in his stead. This text goes on to discuss a woman named Kimhith who lived many centuries later: she had seven sons and each of them served in the office of chief priest. On one occasion, two sons served as chief priest on the same day. The Rabbis paid her a visit and asked her, “What good deeds have you performed to merit such an honor?” She responded, “So help me Heaven! In all my life the rafters of my house have never looked upon the hair of my head.” Rabbinic society, like many surrounding cultures, believed that married women should cover their heads when they went out in public. Kimhith’s modesty was such that she did not uncover her hair, even in the privacy of her own home. Punning on her name, the Rabbis observed, “All flours (kimha) are flour; but the flour of Kimhith is fine flour,” and they applied to her Psalm 45:14, “All glorious is the king’s daughter within the palace,” as an indication that the domestic domain is the best place for a praiseworthy and virtuous woman.
record every male among them (3:15). The Rabbis asked, “Why every male, without mentioning every female?” and they responded, “Because the glory of the blessed Holy One is derived from the males.” This is proven by Psalm 127:3, “Sons are the provision of יהוה; the fruit of the womb, [God’s] reward.” The midrash explains that “provision of יהוה” refers to males, while if females come, they are also “a reward” (B’midbar Rabbah 3.8). Rabbinic Judaism valued males over females but recognized that women, too, have multiple virtues and are essential for human society and human continuity.
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 44 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 ‘arba’ah v’ar’ba’im yom, shehëm shishah shavu’ot ushnëi yamim la‘Ómer/ba‘Ómer.”
“Today is 44 days, which is six weeks and two days of/in the ‘Ómer.”
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, 29 Iyar through 6 Sivan, we lovingly remember:
Memorial Board, Founding Member
Father of Bob Behrstock
Friend of the Caron Family, TKH Members
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 19, 2023. We will discuss Haftarah Machar Chodesh I Samuel 20:18-42.
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 – Haftarah Machar Chodesh I Samuel 20:18-42
Time: May 19, 2023 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: May 19, 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