Shabbat Metzorah (Lev. 14:1 – 15:33)

This weeks’ portion is… challenging. Especially when you have to relate it to a food assignment. On the surface, it discusses all manner of unappetizing subjects – Leprosy, menstruation and nocturnal emissions to name a few. Reading this portion with it’s p’shat (“plain text”) meaning can lead to discomfort, nausea and uncontrollable urges to put the Torah down... read more

Shabbat Tazria (Lev 12:1-13:59 )

Tazria begins the discussion of situations where people, places or things are “unclean” or “impure” – which may or may not be as negative as it sounds. However, the very first thing in Tazria (“When she gives birth”) is babies. After a woman gives birth, she is considered impure for a certain number of days (different for a boy versus a girl). Is this a good thing... read more

Shabbat Shmini (Lev. 9:1-11:47 ) lists the following synonyms for the word “drunk” (as in “intoxicated”): bashed, befuddled, boozed up*, buzzed*, canned, crocked*, drinking, drunken, flushed*, flying*, fuddled, gassed, glazed*, groggy, hammered, high*, hosed, in orbit, inebriated, jolly, jugged, juiced*, laced*, liquored up*, lit*, lush, merry, muddled, oiled, on a bun, overcome, pie-eyed,... read more

Shabbat Tzav (Lev. 6:1-8:36)

This weeks’ portion begins saying “This is the Ritual (Tzav) of burnt offering.”. However, various interpretations give the meaning of tzav as “commandment”, “law” or even “Torah”. One commentator explains that the word “Torah” does not always apply to the 5 books of Moses. It can mean the 5 books plus Talmud. Or all the official holy books together (Torah, Prophets, Writings, etc). Then there’s “the... read more

Shabbat Vayikra (Lev. 1:1-5:26)

The book of Exodus was completed and that of Leviticus opened under a blanket of silent white purity. Hope, faith and trust in the world and God lead me to believe that by the time Leviticus is done, the world will be renewed with life and color. Metaphorically speaking, Exodus created the external structure for Judaism – creating a people out of a few ragtag tribes, giving them an identity first as “the... read more

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