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Posts Tagged HaTikvah

Shabbat Tazria/Metzora: Time Out (and rare footage taken on the eve of the Holocaust)

Shalom Shir Tikvah Learning Community, This week’s double parashah reflects a fundamental understanding of ancient Israelite religion – and we are not sure that we know what it is. Between parashat Tazria and parashat Metzora, we are presented for four solid chapters of VaYikra (Leviticus) with rules of what anthropologist Mary Douglas called “purity and danger” in her book of the same name. The guidance presented by Torah in these verses (12.1-15.33) separates the tamey from the tahor, two categories that are unhelpfully translated as “pure” and “impure” when in truth the situation is more complicated than that. In her examination of the religious laws which include this as well that other famous duality of Jewish law (kosher or not), Douglas insists that we regard these ideas not with the dismissive superiority of moderns but with what I like to think of as a post-modern curiosity about that which is

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Shabbat Kedoshim 5774: The Other Side of Fear

As this Shabbat approaches I am thinking a lot about the Jews of Ukraine, especially my friends of Kyiv Congregation HaTikvah, where I served as Rabbi in 1993-1994. The words of this week’s parashat hashavua will be read in Kyiv as in Paris as in New York as in Portland, Oregon. We all read the same Torah, but we come to it from many different places. We read it religiously every year; what that means is that we approach the text willing to grant in advance that there is some relevance that we will find in it. This year, I am blessed to read parashat Kedoshim from a place of personal security; I am not worried about civil war breaking out around me. I am not concerned about my physical safety when I go out on the street, and I do not expect a knock at my door. From this safe place, you and

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