Summary of the Passover Torah Readings
A day-by-day summary of all the Torah readings, beginning with the first day, Shabbat
On the FIRST DAY OF PASSOVER we read from the book of Exodus (12:21-51) of the bringing of the Passover Offering in Egypt, the Plague of the Firstborn at the stroke of midnight, and how "On this very day, G‑d took the Children of Israel out of Egypt."
The reading for the SECOND DAY OF PASSOVER, Leviticus 22:26-23:44, includes: a list of the moadim — the "appointed times" on the Jewish calendar for festive celebration of our bond with G‑d; the mitzvah to Count the Omer (the 49-day "countdown" to the festival of Shavuot which begins on the 2nd night of Passover); and the obligation to journey to the Holy Temple to "to see and be seen before the face of G‑d" on the three annual pilgrimage festivals — Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.
Metzora - Shabbat Hagadol
Leviticus 14:1 - 15:33; Haftarah Malachi 3:4 - 3:24
By Rabbi Bradley Artson on MyJewishLearning
Is It Blasphemous To Heal People?
Even if we view leprosy as a punishment, we must work to heal the afflicted, allowing our sense of compassion to override justice or logic.
Our ancestors, like others in the ancient Near East, suffered from frequent eruptions of a variety of skin diseases, called ‘tzara’at.’ Many of these ‘leprosies’ were quite severe, and they carried a severe social stigma in every culture in the ancient world. Countless stories in the Bible and the Talmud attest to the dread consequences of this illness and the devastation it could bring into the lives of individuals, families and communities.
Tazria - Rosh Chodesh Shabbat Hachodesh
By: Rabbi Jay Kelman for Torah in Motion
Lev. 12:1-13:35; Maftir Num.28:9-15; Maf. Ex. 12:1-20
Building a Home
The first of Nissan and the first of Tishrei mark the beginnings of the Jewish year. The solar aspect of our calendar—representing the fixed laws of nature—begins on Tishrei; whereas the lunar cycle—symbolizing the ups and down of Jewish history—begins on the first of Nissan.
The solar year mirrors the agricultural cycle and begins as the rainy season approaches; whereas the lunar year, reflecting the supernatural aspect of Jewish history, begins with the month the Jewish people were formed into a nation. Even the name of the month, Nissan, related to the word nes or miracle, signifies the miraculous tenacity of the Jewish people.
Sh'mini - Shabbat Parah
By Matthew Berkowitz, JTS
Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47; maf: Numbers 19:1-22
Parashat Shemini's Lessons of Leadership
This past week, Jewish communities the world over rejoiced in the celebration of Purim. At the core of our commemoration of this holiday stands the scroll of Esther, the plot of which revolves around the evil designs of Haman to wreak havoc on the Jewish people living in the 127 provinces of the Persian monarch Ahashverosh. Through the downfall of Queen Vashti, the cunning strategy of Mordechai, and the beauty and wit of Esther, as well as other twists and turns, the Jews are saved from what appears to be certain destruction. "The very day on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to get them in their power, the opposite happened, and the Jews got their enemies in their power" (Esther 9:1). More than that, we read, "grief and mourning was transformed to happiness and feasting" (Esther 9:22). The proverbial tables are turned for the good of the Jewish people. In contrast, we encounter this week's parashah, Parashat Shemini, which provides a stark example of celebration suddenly transformed into mourning. Having completed the building of the Tabernacle and set the foundation for divinely ordained sacrifices, the Israelites are ready to offer the first sacrifice celebrating the inauguration of Israel's priesthood.
Tzav - Shushan Purim
Rabbi Bradley Artson for MyJewishLearning
Ears, Thumbs And Toes
The ceremony installing the priests teaches the importance of consecrating the entire body for sacred service.
Traditionally, the Book of Vayikra (Leviticus) was known as Torat Kohanim, “the Teachings of the Priests.” Its contents are directed to people who would be ministering in the Temple in Jerusalem, and its topics pertain to priestly sacrifice, ritual and purity.