Purim is in the air, and I find myself considering what it will be like to celebrate this festival for the first time as an Israeli citizen. And, so far, it feels strange…. Because, you see, I’ve always considered Purim to be the paradigmatic diaspora festival, with a frightening current running beneath the fun and
Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s ‘Unlocking The Torah Text: An In-Depth Journey Into The Weekly Parsha- Vayikra’ Click here to buy the book Context In the midst of the Torah’s discussion concerning the festival cycle, immediately after the commandment concerning the Omer offering (a barley offering in the Temple which marks the beginning of the harvest
Context In a sweeping set of edicts at the beginning of Parshat Behar, the Torah regulates the sale of land within Jewish society. Land should be sold only in the case of dire necessity. Land that has been sold may be redeemed after two years by the original owner or by his relatives. The price
Context As Parshat Emor continues with its description of the festival cycle, we encounter a holiday shrouded in mystery. A series of enigmas surround both the festival of Shavuot, introduced for the first time in this parsha, and Revelation, the historical event with which Shavuot is associated. 1. Although the rabbis identify Shavuot as Zman
Context The Torah obligates a landowner to a series of five mandatory matanot la’evyonim, “gifts to the poor.” Four of these obligations are recorded in Parshat Kedoshim: Leket: Stalks of grain that fall to the ground during the harvest must be left for collection by the poor. Peah: A portion (preferably a corner) of the
Context Parshat Tazria opens with one of the strangest examples of biblical ritual “impurity”: tumat yoledet, tuma resulting from childbirth. The Torah relates that, following the birth of a male child, a childbearing mother enters a seven-day period of tuma, while following the birth of a female child, a fourteen-day period of tuma is mandated.
Context In the shadow of Nadav and Avihu’s tragic death, God turns to their father, Aharon, and commands: Do not drink wine or intoxicating beverage, you and your sons with you, when you come into the Tent of Meeting, and you will not die; this is an eternal decree for your generations. In order to
Context As Parshat Tzav draws to a close, God commands Moshe to instruct Aharon concerning the laws of the shivat yemei hamiluim, the seven days of preparation that will lead to the inauguration of the kehuna on the eighth day. These events will launch the ongoing priestly role of Aharon and his progeny across the