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hebrew roots

Behukotai (My Statutes) – Leviticus 26:3 – 27:34

For centuries, anti-Semitism was fueled by a belief that G-d had abandoned His people, that the promises that had been listed specifically in the Bible for the Jewish people were no longer relevant.  Medieval Christian theologies were based on this premise.  But it is the clear statement in verse 44 that belies this idea, for G-d explicitly states that, despite exile and deserved punishment, G-d will never break His covenant with us.

Behar (At The Mountain) – Leviticus 25:1 – 26:2

The Sabbath reminds us that G-d created the world and we are commanded to rest one day each week, to stop our activities of work and creation and devote ourselves to spiritual pursuits. The land does the same in the seventh year and reverts to its original owner in the 50th year, after seven Sabbatical cycles.

Shmini (Eighth) – Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47

One of the most tragic events in the Bible takes place in this week’s reading. Leviticus 10 begins with the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu, who brought a “strange fire” before G-d. It is not clear exactly what Nadav and Avihu did that angered G-d.

Shmini (Eighth) – Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47

One of the most tragic events in the Bible takes place in this week’s reading. Leviticus 10 begins with the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu, who brought a “strange fire” before G-d. It is not clear exactly what Nadav and Avihu did that angered G-d.

Tezave (You Shall Command) – Exodus 27:20 – 30:10

This week’s portion begins with the end of Exodus chapter 27 and includes the instructions for Aaron and their priests in their worship roles — their clothes, the sanctification process they will go through, and some instruction regarding the altar, the incense altar and the “tent of meeting.” It is the instruction with regard to this “tent” that I would like to focus on this week.

Trumah (Offering) – Exodus 25:1 – 27:19

G-d does not need our worship. He does not need for us to build Him a house. G-d wants us to build that house so that it can be an effective tool for us to come close to G-d. May we never lose our ability to distinguish between the medium and the ultimate goal, between the vehicles of our faith and faith itself.