Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

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Kedoshim contains one of the central passages of the Torah.  Called the Holiness Code because of its exhortation, “Kedohsim tihyu” (You shall be holy), Leviticus 19 is famous because it contains timeless ethical laws such as caring for the poor, the laborer, the disabled, and the stranger; to love your neighbor, not gossip, and so much more.  But mixed in with all of these ethical laws are ritual laws as well, for example, about sacrifices, dietary laws, Shabbat, and the prohibition against mixing together different kinds of seeds in a field and cloth in a garment.  The juxtaposition of the ritual and the ethical seems strange, and yet, we know that Judaism is not merely a set of values.  Rituals are what make us who we are and set us apart as a unique people.  The intermingling of the two kinds of laws in this passage can remind us to value both as essential to our Jewish lives.

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Commemoration Day) and Yom Ha’atzma’ut (Israeli Independence Day) are sometimes referred to collectively as the “Yamim” (Hebrew for Days).  This Shabbat falls between the two Yamim, modern Jewish holidays created to honor watershed events in Jewish history.  On Tuesday night, we observed Yom HaShoah in Kenosha, listening to an eye-witness account of the Shoah from survivor, Estelle Laughlin.  Her remarks were both eye-opening and inspiring. If you missed it, please look for her memoir, Transcending Darkness, in the BHT library.  We will mark Israel’s 69thbirthday a few days after Yom Ha’atzma’ut, with a Shabbat afternoon concert of Israeli music on Saturday, May 6 at 4:30pm.  Join us for the new wave in contemporary Israeli spiritual and popular music with Mikolot Mayim, Rabbi Or and Feliza Zohar, from the Misgav Region of northern Israel.

This past Monday, the seventh day of Pesach, we read the story of the crossing of the Red Sea in the synagogue, and the Song of the Sea, Shirat Hayam, is attributed to Miriam by some scholars.  There is a unique Torah commentary by Ellen Frankel called The Five Books of Miriam.  For this week’s parasha (Torah portion), Frankel  speaks in the voice of Elisheva, wife of Aaron, mother of two of their four sons, who die mysteriously on their ordination day, at the hand of God. (Lev. 10:1-7)  In the Torah, Elisheva is never mentioned; her reaction to her sons’ death is not recorded.  The Five Books of Miriam gives voice to Elisheva’s grief and the comfort she is shown by the women of her community:  “And so the women put away their hand drums…and did not perform the dance…prepared for what was meant to be a day of rejoicing.… They sang a lament to my dead sons, and so was I comforted for my loss.” (p. 161)

MAY FOOD OF THE MONTH:Canned or Dried Beans

June   Powdered Milk 

 

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Thursday, May 25, CUSH Annual Celebration Banquet

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