From The Rabbi’s Study…May 7,2021/25 Iyar 5781/Omer 40
Double Torah Parshiot: Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2) Bechukotai(Leviticus 26:3-27:34)
Haftarot: (Jeremiah 32:6-27), (Jeremiah 16:19-17-14)
Happy Mother’s Day wishes for all our mothers who do so much for their families!
As one can see the Counting of the Omer is 40, which means,
Erev Shavuot is on 49 Omer/ Sunday night. May 16th/4 Sivan 5781. Monday and Tuesday continues the Celebration of Receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. Yizkor is recited Tuesday morning, please kindle the Yizkor candles on Monday night for your loved ones.
Some Minhagim/ Customs are giving Tzedakah for the souls of your departed loved ones, and the Megillat Ruth is read on the Second Day of Shavuot. Ruth was the first to convert to Judaism, stayed and traveled with her Mother-in-Law, Naomi, married Boaz and G-d blessed her with the honor of being the Great Grandmother to David Meleck/ King David (David in Hebrew means the Beloved of G-d).
Since Michael and I will be visiting our children, the Torah portion and Haftarot for the week of Shavuot are the following;
First Day: Torah Reading: (Exodus 19:1-20:23), (Numbers 28:26-31)
Haftarah: (Ezekiel 1:1-28; 3:12) * The Ten Commandments are read.
It is our Children that became the Guarantors and Keeper of the Torah, which was the only guarantee acceptable to G-d. So, we bring our children and grandchildren to hear the readings from the Torah and we rise for the Ten Commandments.
Second Day: Torah Reading: (Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17), (Numbers 28:26-31)
Haftarah: (Habakkuk 2:20-3:19) Then the Chanting of Megillat Ruth
This Shabbat Torah portion of Behar contains laws regulating the Sabbath and the Jubilee Year, caring for the poor, and G-d’s rewards and punishments. The second Torah parsha if Bechukotai continues with the ban on idolatry, Sabbath observance, reverence for the tabernacle, rewards for obedience to G-d’s laws and punishment for disobedience, tithes and valuations of offerings and vows.
The drash will be on the concepts and values of rewards and punishments and the consequences of our choices and actions. Many ancient Near Eastern nations developed legal systems that promised great rewards for those who observed the laws and punishments for those that did not. This Torah portion offers a list of blessings and curses facing the Israelites. They are promised prosperity, peace, and victory over their enemies if they followed G-d’s laws. On the other hand, if they do not choose to follow G-d’s laws, they will be punished with diseases, crop failures, and death of their flocks and children (Leviticus 26:3-38).
The Hebrew name for this chapter of Bechukotai of admonitions is tochechah/warnings. Many commentaries on the Torah discuss G-d’s relationship to human beings, and whether G-d rewards and punishes us according to our deeds. The only consensus seems to be that everything we do has consequences, and therefore that we ought always to think about the consequences of our actions. There is no necessary relationship between a person’s merit and fortunes. A person of noble character may be lucky or miserable. The same holds true for the less noble. However, an honest and dependable person is almost always respected and trusted. Kindness to others often evokes a similar response from them.
During the covid 19 Pandemic, our Houses of Worship were closed even though the Constitution and Bill of Rights gives people the laws of religious freedom, people sometimes have to adhere to government guidelines for various reasons. Sometimes for safety or health concerns of the people. We are Blessed to have Modern Technology and have weekly services via Zoom. We are Blessed that Jews throughout the centuries knew how to adapt to change more quickly and successfully than any other nations.
Jewish people live in two worlds. One is the fact that Jews follow the Torah and Talmudic laws and guidance, while the other laws are from the country that they dwell within. In America, we are blessed with having religious freedoms, we have to be mindful of our choices, actions, and courses taken. Judaism teaches us tolerance, compassion, and Pechu HaNefesh/ Protect or Save a Soul. Will many actions and choices cause harm to a human being or humanity? If one does not have the correct answer for the course of actions to take, the answer is, do not choose that action.
While our State of Utah has opened up and Masks do not need to be worn, one still has to follow the mask wearing in certain places, in hospitals, schools and some businesses. Please keep in mind that this is a liminal moment in history. When a phase of actions whether a war(Heaven forbid) or a Pandemic has affected our ways of living and we adjusted. The moment of coming to a conclusion of such actions has step down procedures. So, we will be slowly returning to our ways of life again. Harbeh Savlanut, Much Patience is needed!
G-d has given us a gift of a sacred time known as Sabbath a day of rest. Try to take this sacred time to rest, read and enjoy the beauty of the spiritual moments. This is a great way to relieve stress, worry and stay happier and healthier!
You have just finished the Book of Vayikra which contains: 859 verses, 27 chapters and Sidrot.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder
My artwork is also in the “SUAG” in the Red Cliffs Gallery on 200 North opposite the
St. George City Hall. One is a piece of Judaic Art! Enjoy! Show ends June 3rd.