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Parshat Emor: Appropriate and Excessive Mourning
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And to his virgin sister who is close to him, that is not married, for her he may become ritually unclean. (VaYikra 21:3) 1. The Torah source for the commandment to mourn the death of relatives A kohen is generally prohibited from becoming ritually unclean. This prohibition restricts a kohen from contact with a dead […]
Parshat Kedoshim: Love or Beloved?
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According to Rabbi Akiva, the central principle of the Torah, found in our Parsha, is to love others, וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ. Despite this, many of us seek love in the opposite direction. More than we aspire to love others, we hope for others to love us. However, the key to happiness isn’t by being beloved […]
The Scapegoat
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The strangest element of the service on Yom Kippur, set out in Acharei Mot (Lev. 16: 7-22), was the ritual of the two goats, one offered as a sacrifice, the other sent away into the desert “to Azazel.” They were brought before the High Priest, to all intents and purposes indistinguishable from one another: they […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Parsha Column, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim
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It was a year when the holidays fell on the same days of the week as they do this year. The first day of Passover was on a Saturday, a Shabbat, so that Shavuot fell on a Sunday. Saturday night was the beginning of Shavuot. That calendar quirk provided the occasion for Babu to play a trick on me and my cousin Mati.