Tazria - Metzora
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Holiness and Childbirth
The sidrot of Tazria and Metsorah contain laws which are among the most difficult to understand. They are about conditions of “impurity” arising from the fact that we are physical beings, embodied souls, and hence exposed to (in Hamlet’s words) “the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” Though we have immortal longings, mortality is the condition of human existence, as it is of all embodied life. As Rambam explains (Guide for the Perplexed, III: 12):
Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47
From Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
When Weakness Becomes Strength
Have you ever felt inadequate to a task you have been assigned or a job you have been given? Do you sometimes feel that other people have too high an estimate of your abilities? Has there been a moment when you felt like a faker, a fraud, and that at some time you would be found out and discovered to be the weak, fallible, imperfect human being you know in your heart you are?
Acharon Shel Pesach - Last Day of Passover
This Saturday, April 7, 2018, is the last day of Passover for Jews in the Diaspora
Deuteronomy 14:22 - 16:17 & Numbers 28:19 - 28:25
Like the reading for the second day, it catalogs the annual cycle of festivals, their special observances, and the offerings brought on these occasions to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Eighth Day's special connection with the Future Redemption is reflected in the Haftorah (reading from the Prophets) for this day (Isaiah 10:32-12:6).
Morning service. Half-Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. The Yizkor memorial service is recited following the Torah reading.
Pesach 1 - On Shabbat
On the FIRST DAY OF PASSOVER we read from the book of Exodus (12:21-51) & Numbers (28:16 - 28:25) of the bringing of the Passover Offering in Egypt, the Plague of the Firstborn at the stroke of midnight, and how "On this very day, G‑d took the Children of Israel out of Egypt."
Chag Sameach!/Happy Holiday!
Want more information on Passover? Check out Jvillage Network's Passover Guide.
Tzav - Shabbat Hagadol
Leviticus 6:1−8:36; Special Haftarah: Malachi 3:4 - 3:24
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Why Civilisations Die
In her recent “The Watchman’s Rattle”, subtitled ‘Thinking our way out of extinction’, Rebecca Costa delivers a fascinating account of how civilisations die. Their problems become too complex. Societies reach what she calls a cognitive threshold. They simply can’t chart a path from the present to the future.
The example she gives is the Mayans. For a period of three and a half thousand years, between 2,600 BCE and 900 CE, they developed an extraordinary civilisation, spreading over what is today Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize with an estimated population of 15 million people.