Torah: Tzav(Leviticus 6:1-8:36) Haftarah: Jeremiah 7:21-28; Jeremiah 9:22-23
Wednesday night started Purim. Happy Purim to everyone!
The Sabbath starts the Book of Leviticus, which continues with the description of the sacrificial offerings. The ordination of Aaron and his sons and the dedication of the first sanctuary.
One concept and value from the Torah parsha is Mishmarot: Watches, which is the concept of watches based on, “and you shall abide at the door of the tent of meeting day and night seven days, and keep the charge of G-d” (Leviticus 8:35). The adult males of the Jewish people are divided into twenty-four watches of priests, Levites, and ordinary Israelites for duty at the Temple, with every watch performing Temple services for one week at a time. The ordinary Israelites in the watch assisted the priests and Levites. Some of them were in the Temple, standing near the priests and reciting prayers during the sacrificial rites, while others read to the congregation the portions of the Torah relating to the sacrifices then being offered in Jerusalem. In this manner all Jewish men, regardless of wealth status, had an opportunity to participate, both directly and indirectly, in the sacrificial rites.
Today, Jewish people do not bring offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem because the Temple was destroyed. Today, Jews pray in synagogues to offer prayers to G-d. Also, in this Torah parsha the concept and values of the holiness of blood. Jewish law prohibits the eating of blood. Nachmanides, a medieval commentator, made the point that blood is sacred because it contains the soul given by G-d and therefore ought not to be eat. Others saw the refusal to eat blood as a way of sensitizing us toward reverence for life, since blood was often a sign of human cruelty.
Today, we will be celebrating Purim for three days, and we remember the Brave Jewish woman Hadassah known by her Persian name, Esther. How one woman saved all the Jewish people living in the Persian Empire of 127 provinces. Today, we are witnessing the horrific invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops. Over 40,000 Jews live or lived in the capital city, Kyiv, and their rabbi stands behind to bring comfort to his people that could not leave the battled torn city and region. When we listen to the Meggilat Esther being recited may remember that when one good person helps her people or country that others will follow and do righteous actions.
May this Shabbat see an end to the war in Ukraine.
May this Sabbath bring peace to all the people of the world,and May hate, and violence and war cease to exist so no nation will rise up to do war again.
Shabbat Shalom v’ Purim Sameach,
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder