Emor (Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23)

If you have a strong sense of déjà vu in the middle of Parashat Emor, it may be because we just read Leviticus 22:26 – 23:44 on April 16, the second day of Passover.  It’s also read on the first and second days of Sukkot.  It contains instructions for observing the Sabbath and holidays in the Promised Land, not only sacrifices, but the activities specific to each, like dwelling in a booth on Sukkot.  These sacred occasions are referred to as “set times.” The three harvest holidays (Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot) are necessarily tied to the agricultural seasons of the year.

The beginning of Emor includes special restrictions for the priests related to ritual purity, whom they can marry, and disqualifying physical defects.  Requirements are naturally stricter for the high priest.  A priest cannot tend to dead bodies because contact with a corpse causes ritual impurity.  An exception is made for a priest’s parent, child, brother and virgin sister; however, this exception doesn’t apply to the high priest.  A priest cannot marry a harlot or divorcee; the high priest must marry a virgin. To offer sacrifices, a priest also must be physically whole and defect-free (21:16-23), as must the sacrifices.  Ezekiel’s take on priestly purity, centuries later, is in the haftarah, Ezekiel 44:15-31 .

The rest of the portion includes instructions for kindling the lamps with pure olive oil and an incident of blasphemy, which leads into laws concerning crimes punished by death (since the blasphemer is stoned to death) and those for which appropriate restitution is made (yet another “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” formulation).

For his Bar Mitzvah d’var Torah on Sukkot, my son focused on verse 22:27, “When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall stay seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day on it shall be acceptable as an offering by fire to the Lord.”  Two years ago, when I read that, I fixed on “seven days” as a key to the whole portion. I just reread what I wrote then, having totally forgotten it, and I liked it, so I hope you’ll like reading it again, too:

“Why seven?  Maimonides explains that the animal is not yet fully “complete” (viable?) until seven days have passed; similarly, a boy is not circumcised until it has lived a week.  There are sevens throughout this portion:  resting on the seventh day (commemorating the completion of Creation), eating matzah for seven days, singling out the seventh day of Pesach as a holiday, counting seven weeks (7×7 days) from the second day of Pesach to Shavuot, and celebrating Sukkot for seven days. There are also seven lamps to be kindled (Exod. 25:37). And just a few weeks ago, we read about a seven-day period of seclusion for Aaron and his son’s as part of their ordination (Lev. 8:33-35.  All of these promote reaching a stage of being fully conscious of the special service to the Lord being performed, a state of completeness and holiness.  And that state, completeness and holiness, also describes the priests when they are fit to offer sacrifices.  Thus, the sevens running through the portion connote the striving for completeness and holiness by both priests and Israelites.”

Shabbat shalom,

Dogs and Light Bulbs (selected): How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb?

Border Collie: Just one. Then I’ll replace any wiring that’s not up to code.
Rottweiler: Make me!
Lab: Oh, me, me! Pleeease let me change the light bulb! Can I? Huh? Huh?
Jack Russell Terrier: I’ll just pop it in while I’m bouncing off the walls.
Greyhound: It isn’t moving. Who cares?
Boxer: Who needs light? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark.
Pointer: I see it, there it is, there it is, right there!
Australian Shepherd: First, I’ll put all the light bulbs in a little circle…
Old English Sheep dog: Light bulb? That thing I just ate was a light bulb?
Basset Hound: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
Poodle: I’ll just blow in the Border Collie’s ear and he’ll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.
Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we’ve got our whole lives ahead of us, and you’re inside worrying about a stupid burned-out bulb?


tph Don't Like the Regurgitation


Inspirational Quotes

 A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. 

-James Dent



Q: How did the tree feel in the spring?
A: ‘Releaved’.

Where You Can Retire In the USA: The four seasons

You can retire to Seattle where:  The four seasons are rainy, rainier, sunbreaks and rain, and construction.
You can retire to Phoenix, Arizona where: The 4 seasons are: very warm but tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU FRICK’N KIDDING ME??!!
You can retire to California where: The 4 seasons are: Fire, Flood, Mud, and Drought.
You can retire to Minnesota where: The four seasons are: almost winter, winter, still winter, and construction.
You can retire to Colorado where: The seasons are: Hiking, Feels Like Snow, Snow, Melt/Snow/Melt.
You can retire to Florida where: The seasons are: Early Summer, High Summer, Late Summer, and Not Summer.
You can retire to Massachusetts . . .but I can’t think of one reason why you would. Ever.

© Copyright 2012 Charles Kimball

From 2004:
http://www.loonyhumor.com/jokes/?joke=356.txt (dead link)


A fellow in a bar notices a woman, always alone, come in on a fairly regular basis. After the second week, he made his move.
“No thank you,” she said politely. “This may sound rather odd in this day and age, but I’m keeping myself pure until I meet the man I love.”
“That must be rather difficult,” the man replied.
“Oh, I don’t mind too much.” she said. “But, it has my husband really upset.”

Quotations about Perfection

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. ~Harriet Braiker

Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks. ~Goethe

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen

The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form. ~Stanley J. Randall



tph life of brian

I remember the brouhaha when the movie came out in 1979.

“…Pickets, letters to The Times and a chatshow confrontation with stuffy Church leaders were the retribution that Monty Python suffered for The Life of Brian. Brian’s life bore an uncanny similarity to that of another well-known messiah, and ended in a singalong crucifixion….Isn’t it a tad offensive to crucify your comic messiah to a soundtrack of the light-hearted ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’?”


Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) – The Stoning Scene (or you can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffwFXGPRDu4 )
Mother: Ah, how I hate wearing these beards.
Brian: Why aren’t women allowed to go to stonings, mum?
Mother: It’s written, that’s why.
Beard and stone seller: Pssst! Beard, madam?
Woman carrying donkey: Oh, look, I haven’t got the time to go to no stonings. He’s not well again.
Donkey: Oink! Oink!
Beard and stone seller: Stone, sir?
Mother: No, they’ve got a lot there, lying around on the ground.
Beard and stone seller: Oh, not like these, sir. Look at this! Feel the quality of that, that’s craftmanship, sir.
Mother: Hmm…all right, we’ll have two with points and…a big flat one.
Brian: Could I have a flat one, mum?
Mother: Ssch!
Brian: Sorry! Dad!
Mother: Ehm…all right, two points, ahm…two flats and a packet of gravel.
Beard and stone seller: Packet of gravel. Should be a good one this afternoon.
Mother: Hm?
Beard and stone seller: Local boy.
Mother: Oh, good.
Beard and stone seller: Enjoy yourselves!
Women disguised as bearded men: [Scream] [Yell]
Bird: Fuiit!
Priest: Matthias, son of Deuteronomy of Gath…
Matthias: Do I say yes?
Guard: Yes.
Matthias: Yes!
Priest: …you have been found guilty by the elders of the town of uttering the name of our Lord, and so as a blasphemer…
Women disguised as bearded men: Ooh…
Priest: …you are to be stoned to death!
Women disguised as bearded men: Aah!
Matthias: Look, I’d had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was: “That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehova!”.
Women disguised as bearded men: Oooh!
Priest: Blasphemy! He said it again!
Women disguised as bearded men: Yeah! Yes! Yes!
Priest: Did you hear him?!
Women disguised as bearded men: Yeah! Yes! Yes!
Woman: Really!
Priest: Are there any women here today?
Women disguised as bearded men: Uh…ooh…no…
Priest: Very well. By virtue of the authority vested in me…
Rock thrown at Matthias: [Bladonk]
Women disguised as bearded men: Ooh…
Matthias: Oh, lay off! We haven’t started yet!
Priest: Come on! Who threw that? Who threw that stone? Come on!
Women disguised as bearded men: She did! She did! He did! He did! He did!
Woman: Sorry, I thought we’d started.
Priest: Go to the back!
Woman: Oh, dear…
Priest: Always one, isn’t there? Now, where were we?
Matthias: Look, I don’t think it ought to be blasphemy, just saying “Jehova”!
Women disguised as bearded men: Aiiih! He did!
Priest: You’re only making it worse for yourself!
Matthias: Making it worse? How could it be worse? Jehova, Jehova, Jehova!
Women disguised as bearded men: Aiiih!
Priest: I’m warning you! If you say Jehova once more…
Rock thrown at Priest: [Bladonk]
Priest: Right! Who threw that?
Matthias: Hehehe…
Priest: Come on! Who threw that?
Women disguised as bearded men: She did! She did! She did! Him! Him! Him!
Priest: Was it you?
Woman II: Yes.
Priest: Right…
Woman II: Well, you did say Jehova!
Women disguised as bearded men: Aiiih!
Rocks thrown at Woman II: [Multiple Bladonks]
Priest: Stop! Stop! Will you stop that! Stop it! Now, look! No one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle! Do you understand? Even, and I want to make this absolutely clear, even if they do say Jehova!
Women disguised as bearded men: Aiiih!
Rocks thrown at Priest: [Multiple Bladonks]
Priest: Aaargh!
Large boulder crushing Priest: [Bladonk]
Woman III: Good shot!
Women disguised as bearded men: [Applause]


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