This Shabbat is also the holiday of Simchat Torah, the day we celebrate the conclusion of the annual cycle of reading the weekly portions of the Five Books of Moses, the Torah.
This week we celebrate one of my favorite holidays… Succot, the Feast of Tabernacles. It is quite remarkable that the Torah readings discuss sacrifices brought to the Temple thousands of years ago.
I find the Rosh HaShanah selections special and never fail to feel a thrill and a sense of awe as we read them each year. On the first day, we read the story of the birth of Isaac, beginning with the words, “And G-d visited Sarah as he had said” (Genesis 21:1).
The Day of Atonement is, indeed, the holiest day of the year. The most important element of the holiday, however, is the atonement connected with it. “You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins.” And again at the end of the section: “And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.” (verse 34)
Twice, Scripture tells us that the glory of God has filled the Tabernacle, which, in essence is what the Tabernacle was for. When God first instructed Moses on this issue, He said: “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst” (Exodus 25:8). Clearly, in having His glory fill the Tabernacle, He is dwelling among His people.
The Punishment of the Emorites is the Reward of Israel This shall be the law of the leprous person for the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest. (Leviticus 14:2) So begins a detailed description of the rituals involved with purifying someone who has been afflicted with Biblical … Read more