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Shemini: In Synch with the Sacred

Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Shemini 2016

Shemini: In Synch with the Sacred

In this week’s reading (Shemini), the kohanim begin their duties, the divine presence comes to dwell in the sanctuary, the dietary laws are revealed, and instructions for managing the competing energies of death and life are given. The entire community comes to witness the priestly installations rites, and Moses explains that…  …this is what YHVH commands you […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Tzav 2016

Tzav: Contagious Holiness

This week’s reading, Tzav, focuses on the rights and responsibilities of the kohanim and concludes with their initiation into priestly service. Leviticus is primarily a technical manual, and as such it is rather dry reading. I generally have to work hard to find inspiration in its contents. But every once in awhile, I come across a verse that seems to glow […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Vayikra 2016

Vayikra: Spiritual Estrangement

With this week’s Torah portion, we begin the book of Leviticus. Both the reading and the book itself are known in Hebrew as Vayikra (And He Called). The English name means “pertaining to the Levites”, which is a good summary of its content. Leviticus is primarily concerned with the rules and regulations pertaining to the sanctuary, […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Pikudei 2016

Pikudei: Building a Sacred Space

This week’s reading, Pikudei, is the last one in the book of Exodus. It begins with an accounting of the materials used in the construction of the portable sanctuary and ends with God taking up residence (so to speak) within. In the middle of all of this, we read: Thus was completed all of the work of the mishkan ohel […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Vayakhel

Vayakhel: Start by Planning to Stop

This week’s portion, Vayakhel, describes the construction of the mishkan, the portable sanctuary that accompanied the Israelites on their wilderness journey. The focus is so complete that just one verse in the whole section considers any other topic. The reading begins with Moses gathering the community in order to give them assignments and instructions. But his first words […]

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