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Behar: Be Like a Mountain

Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Behar

Behar: Be Like a Mountain

The name of this week’s reading, Behar, means “on the mountain.” In this case, the peak is Mt. Sinai and context is the revelation of additional instructions for sacred living. Traditional students of Torah hold that every aspect of the text has something to teach us, so it should come as no surprise that they […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Emor 2016

Emor: (Re)called to Holiness

This week’s reading, Emor, includes a description of Judaism’s annual cycle of holy days. Collectively, these occasions are known in Hebrew as mikra’ey kodesh or callings to holiness: Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: YHVH’s appointed times–you will call them callings to holiness–these are [YHVH’s] appointed times: (Leviticus 23:2) The “appointed time” include Shabbat […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Kedoshim 2016

Kedoshim: False Gods

The Hebrew name of this week’s reading, Kedoshim, means “holy” and is taken from the portion’s opening: You shall be holy, for I, YHVH, your God, am holy. (Leviticus 19:2) That verse is followed by all sorts of instructions for living a holy life and bearing witness to the Divine. Included among them is the following: Do […]

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Rabbi Naomi Hyman | Akharei Mot

Akharei Mot: The Ever-Present Sacred

This week’s Torah portion (Akharei Mot) includes instructions for the rituals associated with Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement is still considered the holiest day of the Jewish year, but contemporary observance is vastly different than that described in this reading. The ancient rites of Yom Kippur were intended to purify not just Israelites, but also their […]

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