Torah: Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18) Rosh Chodesh a new month (Adar)
Shabbat Shekalim: Maftir and Haftarah (Exodus 30:11-16, II Kings 12:1-17)
Brief overview of this Shabbat Torah portion.
A variety of civil and criminal laws are presented, including treatment of slaves, crimes of murder and kidnapping, personal injuries, damages through neglect or stealing, offenses against others lying, witchcraft, idolatry,oppression, unfair business practices, and unjust conduct of judges. Israelites are reminded to be sensitive to the needs of strangers. There are rules presented for the Sabbath, the Sabbatical Year, Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. The Commandment not to cook a kid in its mother’s milk. The ratification of the covenant.
The importance of civil law comes after the Ten Commandments, clearly the foundation stones of Judaism. However, the words “these are the ordinances” which introduce this Torah portion are the preamble to our “constitution.” The civil, property, and ethical laws are ordinances which concretize and establish in practice the spirit of the Ten Commandments.
Caring for the stranger is found twice in this Torah portion. We read a commandment dealing with concern for the ger, or stranger (Exodus 22:20, 23:9). Commandments calling for sensitivity and justice for the stranger are found in thirty-six different places in the Torah, mentioned more often than any other mitzvah. Early rabbinic interpreters often understood the Hebrew word ger to also mean “convert.” The treatment of converts is a sensitive manner. Entering a new religious group can be very frightening, and the welcome given by a family or group to a newcomer can make the difference between feeling accepted or feeling rejected. One should be kind to all people.
The Haftarah for the Sabbath of Rosh Chodesh is taken from the Book of Isaiah
which is Isaiah 66. It was chosen for the purpose because of the reference to the new moon in verse 23: “And it shall pass that from one new moon to another, all humans shall come to worship Me.”
The Second Temple is nearing completion, and the prophet Isaih reminds the people that Temple worship must lead to ethical living. Sacrifices are only a means to the end.
Shabbat Shekalim is also on this Sabbath and the Haftarah describes when a census was taken, every adult Isralite was required to contribute a half-shekel toward the maintenance of the sanctuary. The half-shekel was a form of ransom for the soldiers, who were potential although unwilling takers of human life. The Torah portion also emphasizes that the poor and rich are alike and equal in the eyes of G-d, and both must donate the same amount. We are reminded of the half-shekel given to maintain the tabernacle. The Haftarah describes Jehoash instructing the priest to gather money for the Temple’s repair.
*Modern times synagogues collect dues from all the membership to help pay for the rabbi, cantor, building(expenses) and to make sure there are the items needed for Shabbat services, i.e., candles, wine, challah.
If you know anyone that needs a mishaberah, please contact me.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder
Purim is Coming!!!
2c flour, 1/2c sugar, ¼ tsp salt, 2tsp baking powder, 1tsp vanilla, 2 eggs, beaten,
¼ LB butter or margarine, fillings: Prune jam, apricot jam, poppy seed pie filling, chocolate chips or nuts.
Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter or margarine. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dough until it forms a ball. Chill dough, then roll out on a floured board. Cut small circles, about
2 inches in diameter, using a drinking glass rim. Place a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle. Fold over and pinch dough into three sides to form a triangle. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Each oven varies on time of baking.