Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

scroll

The holiday of Shavuot is observed this coming Saturday night and Sunday. As we learned at the Family Education Day program of our school this past Sunday, the holiday is also called "Zman Matan Torateinu," "The Time of the Giving of our Torah." But Shavuot is also the time of Am Yisrael (the People of Israel) accepting the Torah. On Sunday, we learned some ancient stories about our ancestors accepting the Torah. But, the truth is that each of us must accept the Torah and choose to receive Jewish heritage for ourselves in our own time. Each year on Shavuot, our Confirmation students lead us in this endeavor. They have the awe-inspiring task of speaking from the bima about what it means to them to be Jewish and have Torah in their lives. Those who come to hear what the Confirmands have to say may be inspired to contemplate and articulate for ourselves what it means to accept the Torah. Mazal Tov to our 5775 Confirmands, Sam Cohen, Camilo Deen, and Skyler Stams. HAPPY SHAVUOT; CHAG SMAEI'ACH.

This week's parasha concludes the Book of Leviticus. The last verse of the book is a summary: "These are the commandments that the Eternal One gave to Moses for the Israelite people on Mount Sinai." But the Torah itself tells us that, in fact, not all of the commandments were given at Sinai. Some were given at the Mishkan, the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Addressing this seeming contradiction, the Etz Hayim Torah commentary says: "Sinai is not a geographic location. It is a symbol of Israel's awareness of having stood in the presence of God and having come to understand what God requires of them." As we approach the holiday of Shavuot (May 23 and 24), commemorating Matan Torah, the giving of Torah at Sinai, consider observing the holiday by being in the synagogue to relive the Sinai moment, regaining that awareness of "having stood the in presence of God" and receiving our proud heritage and deep tradition anew.

I recently came upon a new Torah commentary designed for teens: Text Messages by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin. Salkin put together commentaries on each Torah portion, written by various rabbis, teachers and scholars across the United States. One of the commentaries for this week's parasha (Torah portion), Emor, points out a troubling passage in the text: that a person who had a disability was disqualified from serving as a kohein (priest) in ancient times. (Leviticus 21:16-18) To our 21st century ears, this sounds wrong and offensive. The authors of this commentary suggest the following: "One way to deal with this (or any antiquated and troubling values in the Torah) is to understand the Torah as continuously giving us paradoxes and dilemmas to unravel." Perhaps, say the authors of this commentary, this kind of thinking and wrestling with ancient texts is has what has made us who we are as a people: "Relentless seekers and interpreters." (Golub and Reinharz in Salkin, pp. 151-154) Those who have been taking the class "What Do Jews Believe?" at Beth Hillel have been grappling with similar dilemmas since February. We do not solve the paradoxes, but in each session we learn to embrace anew the opportunity to wrestle with great ideas and ultimate questions.

JULY FOOD OF THE MONTH: Canned Tuna  

click for more information

 

URJ Weekly Torah Commentary

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Read more...
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Read more...
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Read more...
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Read more...
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Read more...
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Read more...

This Week at BHT

28 Jul 2017
05:45PM -
Kabbalat Shabbat | Lay Leader
31 Jul 2017
12:00AM
1st Qtrly MCC Payment Due
31 Jul 2017
07:30PM -
Erev Tisha B'sv
01 Aug 2017
12:00AM
Achshav Fall Deadline
01 Aug 2017
12:00AM
Tisha BeAv (Jewish Religious Holiday)
01 Aug 2017
10:00AM -
Temple Tots Event
01 Aug 2017
05:30PM -
Ritual Committee Meeting
02 Aug 2017
10:30AM -
Social Action Committee Meeting | at Letven
02 Aug 2017
04:00PM -
CPR Training
04 Aug 2017
05:45PM -
Family Kabbalat Shabbat | BD Blessing
05 Aug 2017
09:30AM -
Parashat Hashavuah
05 Aug 2017
10:30AM -
Shabbat Morning
08 Aug 2017
06:45PM -
Leadership Council Meeting
11 Aug 2017
05:45PM -
Kabbalat Shabbat | Lay Leader | Bluestein