Skip links

Main navigation

Posts by JCC Association

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

“You shall take choice flour and bake of it twelve loaves, two-tenths of a measure for each loaf.” (Leviticus 24:5) The American sociologist William Graham Sumner coined the term folkways to describe the informal norms or customs of a society (as opposed to behaviors legislated by law).  So, for example, placing two challot (plural of … Continued

Parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27)

“Do not hate your brother/sister in your heart; you shall rebuke your neighbor but bear no sin because of him/her.” – Leviticus 19:17 Parashat Kedoshim (kedoshim is the plural of kadosh, holy) includes key moral precepts and ritual laws, many of which are restatements of the Ten Commandments as found in Exodus and Deuteronomy. Kedoshim … Continued

Parashat Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1-18:27)

“For on this day expiation shall be made for you to purify you of all your sins; you shall be pure before the Lord” (Leviticus 16:30) Parashat Acharei Mot begins with a description of the Yom Kippur ritual for purifying the mishkan (Tabernacle).  The peak moment of the ritual was the incense ceremony, in which … Continued

Parashat Metzora (Leviticus 14:1-15:33)

“When you enter the land of Canaan that I give you as a possession, and I inflict an eruptive plague upon a house in the land you possess, the owner of the house shall come and tell the priest…” ( Leviticus 14:33) Adults react to the Torah differently than children.  Parashat Metzora is a case … Continued

Parashat Tazria (Leviticus 12:1-13:59)

“…The priest shall make expiation on her behalf, and she shall be pure.” (Leviticus 12:8) Parashat Tazria catalogues a variety of skin abnormalities that need to be examined by the kohen, or priest.  The Torah assumes that physical ailments could be divine punishment for spiritual or ritual wrong-doing.  If the kohen diagnoses impurity, the person … Continued

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

“…This is what the Lord had commanded that you do, that the Presence of the Lord may appear to you.” (Leviticus 9:6) It is surprising how often things go wrong in the Torah.  Parashat Sh’mini describes the eighth day of the ordination of Aaron and his sons as High Priests when the very first sacrifices … Continued

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

“He poured some of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.” (Leviticus 8:12) Parashat Tzav is directed toward Aaron and his sons, who are destined to become the kohanim, or priests.  It describes the procedure for offering the sacrifices in the mishkan, or Tabernacle.  The Torah repeats many of the … Continued

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

“And the remainder of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons, a most holy portion from the Lord’s gifts.” (Leviticus 2:3) Leviticus, the third book of the Torah, is a tough read.  It has neither the intrigue of the family squabbles of Genesis, nor the epic sweep of the divine revelation and … Continued

Parashat P’kudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38)

“These are the records of the Tabernacle, which were drawn up at Moses’ bidding…” (Exodus 38:21) Parashat P’kudei closes the book of Exodus with an important demonstration of transparency and accountability:  the world’s first external audit.  According to Midrash Tanhuma (a collection of rabbinic stories on the Torah named after Rabbi Tanhuma, the first rabbi … Continued