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Tag Archives: Leviticus

Emor – Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23

This week’s reading builds upon last week’s distinction between the Priestly Torah, which focuses on the priestly views of ritual (as distinct from those of the masses), and the Holiness Code, which interweaves the priestly elements of ritual with popular customs. What further distinguishes Chapters 21 and 22 of Leviticus from the rest of the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/emor-leviticus-211-2423-3/ Continue Reading...

Acharei Mot / Kedoshim – Leviticus 16:1 – 20:27

In conversation with a Jewish artist, I once quipped that all artists must see their art as an offering to the Other Side. “What?!,” the artist exclaimed. In order to quell the energy of the negative forces in the universe, I explained, the mystical interpretation of many rituals, especially sacrifice, is understood as a way […] http://bethsholomsf.org/acharei-mot-kedoshim-leviticus-161-2027-2/ Continue Reading...

Tzav — Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36

The Greek diplomat, Solon (638-558 BCE) once remarked: “Learn to obey before you command.“ What is the relationship between obedience and commandedness [t’zivui] and how does it affect our relationship to sacral duties [mitzvot]? From hearing the calling to obeying the command [tzav], Moses, Aaron, and Aaron’s sons all receive the divine command regarding their […] http://bethsholomsf.org/tzav-leviticus-61-836-3/ Continue Reading...

Vayikra — Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26

A strange miniature Aleph opens this week’s parsha, the only one of its kind in the Torah. What does it mean? In our study of the Zohar, we discovered the most remarkable insight: “A miniature aleph — deriving from a diminished place, diminished becoming great as it joins above.” The mystics understand this seemingly obscure […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayikra-leviticus-11-526-3/ Continue Reading...

Behar / Bechukotai – Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34

“Sowing the seed, my hand is one with the earth. …Hungry and trusting, my mind is one with the earth. Eating the fruit, my body is one with the earth.“ Wendell Berry’s poem “Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer” asks us to consider how the farmer is like the farm. Similarly, the strong language […] http://bethsholomsf.org/behar-bechukotai-leviticus-251-2734/ Continue Reading...

Emor – Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23

This week’s reading builds upon last week’s distinction between the Priestly Torah, which focuses on the priestly views of ritual (as distinct from those of the masses), and the Holiness Code, which interweaves the priestly elements of ritual with popular customs. What further distinguishes Chapters 21 and 22 of Leviticus from the rest of the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/emor-leviticus-211-2423-2/ Continue Reading...

Acharei Mot / Kedoshim – Leviticus 16:1 – 20:27

In conversation with a Jewish artist, I recently quipped that all artists must see their art as an offering to the Other Side. “What?!,” the artist exclaimed. In order to quell the energy of the negative forces in the universe, I explained, the mystical interpretation of many rituals, especially sacrifice, is understood as a way […] http://bethsholomsf.org/acharei-mot-kedoshim-leviticus-161-2027/ Continue Reading...

Elai Levinson’s Bar Mitzvah

Shalom. My name is Elai David Levinson, and I will be called up to read from the Torah as a bar mitzvah this Shabbat, May 6. I am a 7th grader at Claire Lilienthal Alternative School. During my free time, I can be found drawing, writing, editing my movies, drumming with my band, Planet 17, […] http://bethsholomsf.org/elai-levinsons-bar-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Tazria / Metzora – Leviticus 12:1-15:33

Debate still abounds as to how best translate the key terms tumah and taharah — signatures of Leviticus (see, for example, Chapter 12). Purity and impurity? Ritual fitness or exclusion? Death and rebirth? I continue to return to the inspired translation of theologian Rachel Adler, who teaches that tumah and taharah are best rendered as […] http://bethsholomsf.org/tazria-metzora-leviticus-121-1533/ Continue Reading...

Shemini – Leviticus 9:1-11:47

You are what you eat, so they say. But more importantly, as Jews, we eat only in the context of creation. In this week’s reading, Shemini, aside from Aaron’s mysterious silence in the face of his sons’ immolation, we are drawn into the distinctions conveyed through our dietary laws. The laws of kashrut are commanded, […] http://bethsholomsf.org/shemini-leviticus-91-1147-2/ Continue Reading...