May 19, 2018
Shavuot – The Feast of Weeks
Shavuot
 
The Story of Ruth
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  • May 19, 2018Shavuot – The Feast of Weeks
    May 19, 2018
    Shavuot – The Feast of Weeks
    Shavuot
     
    The Story of Ruth
  • May 19, 2018Bamidbar – In the wilderness
    May 19, 2018
    Bamidbar – In the wilderness
    Bamidbar - In the wilderness
     
    Numbers 1:1-4:20

    The Hebrew name of the fourth book of the Torah (also the name of the first reading) is Bamidbar (במדבר), which means "In the wilderness." It comes from the first words of the first verse, which say, "Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai" (Numbers 1:1). The English title of the book is "Numbers," which is derived from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Torah. The book of Numbers tells the story of Israel's trek through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, their failure at the edge of the land and the subsequent forty years of wandering. It concludes with the story of the second generation's triumphs over the first Canaanite resistance. The book ends with the Israelites poised on the edge of Canaan, ready to take their inheritance. Woven in the midst of these narratives is a significant amount of legal material.

    The first reading from Bamidbar and the thirty-fourth reading from the Torah begin with a census of the tribes of Israel and the Levitical families just prior to the departure from Sinai.

  • May 12, 2018Behar / Bechukotai – On the mountain / In my statutes
    May 12, 2018
    Behar / Bechukotai – On the mountain / In my statutes
    Behar / Bechukotai - On the mountain / In my statutes
     
    Leviticus 25:1-27:34
     

    Behar

    The thirty-second reading from the Torah and second-to-last reading from the book of Leviticus is called Behar (בהר), which means "On the Mountain." The name comes from the first words of the first verse of the reading, which could be literally translated to read, "The LORD then spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai" (Leviticus 25:1). This portion from the Torah introduces the laws of the sabbatical years, the jubilee and laws concerning redemption. In most years, synagogues read Behar together with the following portion, Bechukotai.

    Bechukotai

    The last reading from the book of Leviticus is called Bechukotai (בחקותי), which means "In My Statutes." The name comes from the first verse of the reading, which begins with the words "If you walk in My statutes ..." (Leviticus 26:3). This last reading from Leviticus promises blessings and rewards for Israel if they will keep the Torah, but punishment and curses if they break the commandments of the Torah. The last chapter discusses laws pertaining to vows, valuations and tithes. In most years, synagogues read Bechukotai together with the preceding portion, Behar.

  • May 5, 2018Emor – Speak
    May 5, 2018
    Emor – Speak
    Emor - Speak
     
    Leviticus 21:1-24:23
     

    The thirty-first reading from the Torah is called Emor (אמור), a title that comes from the first verse of the reading, which says, "Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Speak (emor) to the priests, the sons of Aaron ...'" (Leviticus 21:1). Emor begins with special laws of sanctity, propriety and purity for the priesthood. Leviticus 23 provides an overview of the biblical calendar, a listing of the LORD's appointed times.

  • Apr 28, 2018Acharei Mot / Kedoshim – After the death / Set Apart
    Apr 28, 2018
    Acharei Mot / Kedoshim – After the death / Set Apart
    Acharei Mot / Kedoshim - After the death / Set Apart
     
    Leviticus 16:1-20:27
     
    The twenty-ninth reading from the Torah and sixth reading from Leviticus is named Acharei Mot (אחרי מות), two words that mean "after the death." The title comes from the first words of the first verse of the reading, which say, "Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron" (Leviticus 16:1). Leviticus 16 describes the Tabernacle ceremony for the holy festival of the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 17 establishes general rules for sacrifice and sanctuary. Leviticus 18 lays down specific laws about permitted and forbidden sexual relationships.

    The thirtieth reading from the Torah and seventh reading from Leviticus is named Kedoshim (קדושים), which mean "holy." The title comes from the words in Leviticus 19:2, which says, "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy." Leviticus 19 describes the holy community through a series of specific commandments. Leviticus 20 warns against the snares of sexual immorality and idolatry, mandating a death penalty for certain sins. Except in biblical leap years, Kedoshim is read on the same Sabbath as the previous reading, Acharei Mot.

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