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Posts by David Ackerman

Parashat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20)

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,’ Advance the tribe of Levi and place them in attendance upon Aaron the priest to serve him.’” (Numbers 3:5) Parashat Bamidbar (in the wilderness), opens the fourth book of the Torah (with the same name). Like the book of Exodus, it opens with a list of names. Exodus lists … Continued

Parashat B’har-B’chukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34)

“The land will give its fruit and you will eat your fill; you will dwell securely upon it.” (Leviticus 25:19) Parashat B’har – B’chukotai mandates a shmita, or Sabbatical Year, when the land lies fallow and debts are cancelled (Lev. 25:2-5). After seven cycles of shmita, the 50th year is a yovel, a Jubilee, in … Continued

Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

“Command the Children of Israel to bring you clear olive oil, pressed for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly.” (Leviticus 24: 2) Parashat Emor includes a complete listing of the holidays in the Jewish calendar. This includes Sukkot, also known as z’man simchateinu, the time of our rejoicing. A highlight of the Biblical Sukkot observance is … Continued

Parashat Acharei Mot-K’doshim (Leviticus 16:1-20:27)

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18) We read two parashot (portions) this week because of how the Jewish calendar is calculated. The moon’s cycle determines the months, but the sun’s cycle determines the year. Therefore, a Jewish year … Continued

Parashat Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

“And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord.” (Leviticus 14:16) We read two parashot (portions) this week because of how the Jewish calendar is calculated. The moon’s cycle determines the months, but … Continued

Parashat Sh’mini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

“…This is an eternal decree for your generations, in order to distinguish between the sacred and the profane and between the contaminated and the pure.” (Leviticus 10:9, 10) Parashat Sh’mini describes the eighth day of the ordination of Aaron and his sons as the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) and kohanim (priests), respectively. The ceremony ends … Continued

Parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

“Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water.”  (Leviticus 8:6) Parashat Tzav provides very detailed instructions for performing each of the sacrifices listed in Parashat Vayikra last week.  It’s puzzling, then, to read, “For when I freed your fathers from the land of Egypt, I did not speak with them … Continued

Parashat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26)

“If your offering is a grain offering in a pan, it shall be made of choice flour in oil.”  (Leviticus 2:7) A Sefer Torah, or Torah scroll, is written without any punctuation or markings for sentences, paragraphs, or chapters.  So it’s a bit surprising to encounter several lines of blank space between the end of … Continued

Parashat Vayakhel-P’kudei (Exodus 35:1-40:38)

“Bezalel made the Ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long; a cubit and a half wide; and a cubit and a half tall.” (Exodus 37:1) We read two parashot (portions) this week because of how the Jewish calendar is calculated. A Jewish year can have from 50 to 55 weeks because the … Continued