Tag Archives: TieBlog

#TieBlog #AhareiMot

6 May
Goats sacrificed on Yom Kippur

Goats sacrificed on Yom Kippur

Having just completed Passover, our Torah reading this week, Parashat Aharei Mot, takes us to the opposite pole of the Jewish calendar. The reading describes the elaborate rites carried out by the kohanim (priests), and particularly the High Priest, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. At the center of the the atonement rituals we find goats. In his Yom Kippur Mahzor commentary, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks comments on the words shnei se’irei izim, two goats (Leviticus 16:5) that served different roles in the atonement ritual.

Rabbi Sacks writes: “The two goats were identical in appearance but different in their fate. One was sacrificed to God, the other–the “scapegoat”–was sent into the desert. They represent, respectively, the polarities of the human condition: on the one hand sanctity and order, symbolized by the Tabernacle; on the other, formlessness and void, symbolized by the desert. The ceremony of the two goats is similar to the acts of separation and division that took place during creation (Gen. 1). They represent the light and darkness within the human personality. The darkness–sin–is sent into the dark: the desert with its dangers. The light–the gift of love we bring to God when we offer Him a sacrifice–is transmuted by divine fire into forgiveness and love” (Koren-Sacks Yom Kippur Mahzor, p. 729.).

The goats on my tie are not your average “Billy Goats Gruff.” They are goats of personal transformation and renewal.

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#TieBlog #Pekudei

11 Mar
Parashat Pekudei provides an accounting of the the Tabernacle treasury.

Parashat Pekudei provides an accounting of the the Tabernacle treasury.

Pekudei means “records.” Rashi explains that the records of this portion introduce an accounting of the metals used in the construction of the Tabernacle. A midrash posits that Moses overheard some Israelites speculate that he had derived financial benefit from the donations for the Tabernacle because he was the treasurer in charge. Upon the completion of the Tabernacle, Moses called for an accounting to show that he had not personally profited from the contributions of the people. Based on this midrash, the Rabbis derived that we must not appoint less than two people with control over the finances of a city or community.

#TieBlog #Bo

15 Jan
15 Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:15).

15 Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
(Exodus 12:15).

When people see me wear this tie in the winter they often fret that Passover is around the corner and that they have to start preparing their kitchens to be kosher for Passover, an arduous rite of spring. Have no fear, that’s still three months away. However, our Torah reading this week, Parashat Bo, describes the final three of the ten plagues. As a prelude to the climactic tenth plague, the slaying of the first born, the Torah describes the ritual of the Passover sacrifice that becomes the basis of the Passover Seder observed to this day. The roasted lamb must be eaten with matzah (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs). The Passover rituals are designed to spark discussion about the significance of the Exodus from Egypt in Jewish consciousness. Even if it’s not spring, it’s never to early to engage in these important teachings.

May the Light Be With You

4 Dec
The Jedi Rabbi lights the Hanukkah candles.

The Jedi Rabbi lights the Hanukkah candles.

Here is Temple Torat Emet’s new intergalactic Hanukkah-Star Wars video, May The Light Be With You.

#TieBlog #Vayishlah #JacobWrestles

27 Nov

 

Jacob wrestles with a mysterious being in Parashat Vayishlach and is renamed Yisrael.

Jacob wrestles with a mysterious being in Parashat Vayishlach and is renamed Yisrael.

Parashat Vayishlah presents the climax in Jacob’s journey from a trickster youth who gets his way through deception to a mature adult who faces life’s challenges with integrity. He is about to confront his estranged brother Esau for the first time in 20 years. He fears for his life as he believes Esau is still angry over being cheated out of his birthright. The night before meeting Esau, Jacob encounters a mysterious being on the banks of the Jabbok and they wrestle all night. Towards dawn, Jacob prevails but the sparring partner strikes him in his hip and causes permanent injury. Jacob emerges triumphant but wounded. He is renamed Yisrael- the one who wrestles with God and man and prevails. Later (33:18), Jacob is described as “Shalem,” whole or at peace. Even though Jacob is hurt in a wrestling bout, he is a much more whole person for finding within him the integrity to repair his relationship with his brother.

#TieBlog #Vayetze #Jacob’s Ladder

20 Nov
Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

In Parashat Vayetze, Jacob dreams of a ladder with angels ascending and descending between heaven and earth. They next morning, Jacob awakes and says, “God was in this place, and I did not even know it.” Herein lies a subtle but clear message that while other faith traditions view heavenly bliss as the ultimate religious achievement, for Judaism, the ultimate religious expression is bringing a bit of heaven onto earth.

#TieBlog #Vayera #TheScream

29 Oct
Edvard Munch's "The Scream" has multiple connections to Parashat Vayera.

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” has multiple connections to Parashat Vayera.

When I found a tie with Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” it was clear to me that it would be perfect for Parashat Vayera. The question is what specific connection or “tie-in” it has. The next question is what kind of a scream is represented? Is it a scream of terror or a scream of joy? If the latter, perhaps it’s the aged Sarah expressing her shock that she is going to give birth to a son. On the terror side there are multiple options. It could be Abraham hearing about God’s planned destruction of Sodom and Amorah and his righteous indignation that the just might perish with the wicked. It could be the wife of Lot gazing upon Sodom and Amorah as they burn from fire and brimstone. She turns into a pillar of salt from the shock. Or perhaps it’s Sarah upon learning of the near sacrifice of her son Isaac (Sarah dies at the beginning of the next portion). It could be all of these things, making this one loud, action-packed Torah portion.