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 36, which means, Lag B’Omer was the 33rd day of Counting the Omer. Lag B’Omer became the Jewish holiday celebrating the break of a plague during the time of Rabbi Akiva. The Talmud states that the brilliant Jewish mysticism teacher, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai died on Lag B’Omer, and today this holiday symbolizes the Jewish resilience and Ruach (Spirit)! Israelis celebrate with BBQs, Barn fires, and enjoying their religious freedom!
Erev Shavuot is on 49 Omer/ Thursday night. May 25th/5 Sivan 5783. The Sabbath continues the Celebration of Receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. Yizkor is recited Tuesday morning, please kindle the Yizkor candles on Friday night before the Shabbat candles for your loved ones.
The Minhag/Custom is to eat fruit, vegetables and dairy foods, since the Israelites were in the process of starting to eat Kosher (correct way of separating meat from dairy). Other Minhagim 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).
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 portion is Bechukotai/ Admonitions or tochechach/ warnings 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 famous verse from Behar, “ Do not harm or mistreat one another, I am your eternal G-d.” ( Leviticus 25:17) Some verses in the Torah make one think as to what it is trying to teach because one cannot see anything new in the wording. The Talmud explains: “ Just as it is forbidden to commit fraud in speech, it is also forbidden to use speech to hurt. Another example of the Torah verse reminds that “One must be extremely cautious to treat everyone with respect.” The person may accidentally abuse another physically or verbally, and if so that person must ask for forgiveness. Jews formally do this on Yom Kippur when each of us ask forgiveness to all that may have offended them during the past year.
The second Torah portion has one verse that Jews say as a prayer which is as follows; “If you follow My laws and devotedly keep My Mitzvot. Then I will provide you with rain at the right season, so that the earth will yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:3-4)
A very challenging concept: One of good deeds rewarded and sins are punished by G-d. The “Reward and Punishment” or “the Divine Retribution” is not easy for modern day thinkers to accept for various reasons. One has the concept of G-d evolved, and one finds it difficult to conceive a G-d who will manage the world by offering a token for doing righteous actions or receiving punishment for failing. The ancient rabbis recognized that there are many good individuals and they suffer, and many who are evil and they gain wealth (are these people rewarded?).
Rabbi Levi Yitzhak suggested a solution for traditional Jews as well as the modern Jews. The Mishnah teaches (Pirke Avot 4:1) that the reward for a mitzvah is to do another mitzvah. Thus, the result of rain is being charitable and doing other righteous actions. The rain, in turn, provides abundance in crops and wealth, which enables us to give tzedakah. This cycle continues for each individual to do more mitzvot.
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 7th.
Challah Recipe 2 loaves (parve/ maybe eaten with meat or dairy)
¾ cup warm water 2 large eggs, beaten 3 ½ cups flour
I envelope dry yeast ¼ cup oil (vegetable) 1 ½ tsp salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water ( poppy seeds may be used for top of wash)
¼ cup sugar plus 1 tsp to activate the yeast. You may wish to use ¼ cup honey. ( I use the sugar to activate the yeast and then add a little honey).
Mix water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar in a large bowl. Proof takes 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast, you will see bubbles. Once the bubbles form, add sugar (this is when I add honey), add beaten eggs (I use a small glass to see that the egg is clean and beat), add oil, flour and salt. If your dough is sticky, and a little more flour. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, which is approximately 5 minutes. Lightly oil a bowl and slightly oil the dough ball. Place the oil dough into the bowl and cover with a towel to allow rising in a warm area. The time to rise is 2 hours. Remove the dough and knead about 10 counts on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half to make 2 loaves or one loaf and some small rolls. Divide each half into 3 sections by rolling each in snakes to be able to braid the challah. If you are adventurous, use 6 strands to make a ceremonial challah! Any shape style to represent the Torah portion for a harder challenge.
Place on a parchment lined baking tray for easier clean up!
Preheat Oven 350 degrees. Allow the dough to rise approximately 30 minutes in a warm area. Then brush challah with the egg wash (beaten egg mixed with 1 tsp water).
Bake approximately 25 minutes or until nicely browned. You may wish to sprinkle with poppy seeds!
Keep in mind each oven is different, and our elevation comes into play.
This is the “sweet” challah. I have another that has no sugar and tastes like a pretzel!
I prefer personally the traditional sweet one as to the Jewish German style one!