Acharei Mot (Lev. 16:1-18:30), Shabbat HaGadol, Pesach

Yeah, yeah, I know Passover starts in less than a week.  And if you’re looking for a new haggadah, whether a compile-it-yourself one, or an app, or actual bound paper, all the info you could want is at–haggadah-info-youll-ever-need/.

But first we have one last Sabbath before the holiday, Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Sabbath.  There’s no extra Torah reading, just a special haftarah, Malachi 3:4-24, which contains a prophecy that reconciliation between parents and children will bring the Messiah, which gives you an idea of how difficult reconciliation between parents and children can be.  [By the way, I volunteer for an organization called Read Aloud Delaware, and the pre-K class I work with has two boys named Malachi in it.  But I digress.]  Shabbat HaGadol used to be one of only two times a year that the rabbi gave a sermon, in this case to go over the laws of Passover.  Must have been a rather long sermon.

Anyhow, the Torah portion is Acharei Mot (“after the death of,” referring to Aaron’s sons Nadav and Avihu, who died a couple of portions ago).  It includes rituals for Yom Kippur, describing how Aaron first atones for himself, then for his household, then for all Israel.  A scapegoat is driven into the wilderness.  The equivalence of blood and life is presented, which will become the basic rationale for kosher butchering and removal of blood.   A long list of forbidden sexual relationships is presented, mainly incestuous ones.  Most of this Torah portion is read on Yom Kippur. Acharei Mot, which is about rituals, is usually read as part of a double portion with Kedoshim (Lev. 19:1-20:27), which is about behavioral expectations.  This year, we’ll get to Kedoshim in a couple weeks.

Yes, Pesach is coming.  Here are the Torah and haftarah readings for the first two days

April 15, 1st day Pesach Exodus 12:21-51  The first Passover, the Exodus, and laws for future Passovers (duh). Numbers 28:16-25  The Passover sacrifice (also duh). Joshua 3:5-7; 5:2–6:1, 27 [or 5:2–6:1, 27] Circumcision of the males born in the wilderness.
April 16, 2nd  day Pesach Leviticus 22:26 – 23:44  The holidays (“set times”). Numbers 28:16-25  Same as the first day. II Kings 23:1-9, 21-25  King Josiah’s religious revival.


I’m not really in a reminiscing mood this year.  I think of past sedarim and see ghosts.  But trying to find new humor is challenging (I’ve been doing this too long) and fun.  So here goes…
Shabbat shalom and a Zissen* Pesach,



Now, many many years ago when I was twenty three
I was married to a widow who was pretty as could be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter had hair of red
My father fell in love with her and soon the two were wed.
This made my dad my son-in-law and changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother ’cause she was my father’s wife.
To complicate the matters even though it brought me joy
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy.
My little baby then became a brother-in-law to dad

And so became my uncle though it made me very sad.
For if he was my uncle that also made him the brother
Of the widow’s grown-up daughter who, of course, was my step-mother.

I’m my own grandpa
I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
I’m my own grandpa

My father’s wife then had a son that kept them on the run.
And he became my grandchild for he was my daughter’s son.
My wife is now my mother’s mother and it makes me blue
Because, she is my wife she’s my grandmother too.

I’m my own grandpa
I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
I’m my own grandpa

Now, if my wife is my grandmother then, I am her grandchild
And every time I think of it it nearly drives me wild
For now I have become the strangest case you ever saw.
As the husband of my grandmother I am my own grandpa.

I’m my own grandpa
I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
I’m my own grandpa

I’m my own grandpa
I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
I’m my own grandpa

————————  (lightly edited)


The Maker of all human beings is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.  This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units.  This defect has been technically termed, “Subsequential Internal Non-morality”, or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.

Some other symptoms:
1. Loss of direction  2. Foul vocal emissions  3. Amnesia of origin
4. Lack of peace and joy  5. Selfish or violent behavior
6. Depression or confusion in the mental component
7. Fearfulness  8. Idolatry  9. Rebellion

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this SIN defect and has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.

The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure.  Next, download ATONEMENT into the heart component.  No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, it will be replaced with:
1. Love  2. Joy  3. Peace  4. Patience  5. Kindness  6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness  8. Gentleness  9. Self control

Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Believers Instructions Before Leaving Earth), for further instructions.


Sermon Humor

Gladys attended church services one particular Sunday. The sermon seemed to go on forever and many in the congregation fell asleep.

After the service, to be social, she walked up to a very sleepy looking gentleman, in an attempt to revive him from his stupor, extended her hand in greeting, and said, “Hello, I’m Gladys Dunn.”

To this the gentleman replied, “You’re not the only one!”


The Teeny Tiny Torah

by Shoshanat Yaakov Posted: 12-24-2007(Viewed 1460 times)
(edited to replace original dead link replaced with live one)

A team of enterprising Israeli scientists with way too much time on their hands have managed to produce a Tanach smaller than the head of a pin:

A rival team of scientists hopes to top that stunt by shrinking your rabbi’s sermon down to five minutes.


Speaking of parents, children, and the coming of the Messiah: (abridged)

AP February 4, 2014, 4:04 PM

NEWPORT, Tenn. – An East Tennessee magistrate has been replaced months after ordering a baby’s name changed from Messiah to Martin because she believes Messiah is a title held only by Jesus Christ.

Lu Ann Ballew was a child support magistrate.  Judge Duane Slone terminated Ballew on Friday and appointed a new magistrate.   Ballew, an attorney, still faces a March 3 hearing on accusations that her order to change Messiah’s name violated Tennessee’s Code of Judicial Conduct.  Ballew has denied that her ruling was a violation.

The name change happened in August, when Jalessa Martin and Jawaan McCullough appeared before Ballew at a child support hearing in Newport about their 7-month-old son Messiah Martin. As part of the hearing, the father requested the baby’s last name be changed to McCullough.

Ballew surprised both parents by ordering that the baby’s name change to Martin McCullough. Her written order stated that “Labeling this child ‘Messiah’ places an undue burden on him that as a human being, he cannot fulfill.”  She also said that the name would likely offend many residents of Cocke County, with its large

Ballew’s decision was overturned in chancery court a month later, and both parents agreed to name the baby Messiah McCullough.


tph lightbulbsSeder Sidekick 2013: Seder Light Bulb Jokes

by Seth Galena Posted: 03-17-2013(Viewed 927 times)

How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a lightbulb?
I packed the lightbulbs in the basement with the chometz. You are not messing up my basement.

How many wise sons does it take to change a lightbulb?
One to learn all the laws and statues of electricity, the other to remind us it’s yomtov, you can’t change it stupid.

How many wicked sons does it take to change a lightbulb?
None – It’s your lightbulb Dad, you deal with it!

How many Sons who don’t know how to ask does it take to change a lightbulb?
Wait, was there a question here?

How many Israelites does it take to change a lightbulb?
One, with the help of a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

How many Rabbis in B’nei Brak does it take to change a lightbulb?
Is it out? or is it just time to recite the morning shema?

How many people at your seder does it take to change a light bulb?
If HE only had taken out the bulb or only gotten a new one, dayenu, dayenu.

How many Pharaohs does it take to change a lightbulb?
One, but he will not let it go.

How many Egyptians does it take to change a lightbulb?
Cue plague of Darkness

How many Rabbis does it take to change a lightbulb?
2, one to change it, while the other delivers a 3 part sermon on the topic of tradition over change.


Passover Explained With Graphs   By Graphs!  April 17, 2011

tph seder graph 1

tph seder graph 2

tph seder graph 3

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