Tag Archives: Mary T. Douglas

Acharei Mot – Kedoshim (Lev. 16:1 – 20:27)

(Comments from 2018, slightly edited. I found Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ comments, quoted at the end, particularly insightful.) This week: Sex and holiness. Acharei Mot (Lev. 16:1-18:30) is the first part of this double portion and means “after the death of,” … Continue reading

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Shemini (Lev. 9:1 – 11:47)

Ordination with a spectacular finish. Self-inflicted disaster. Kosher and unkosher animals. That’s this week’s Torah portion.  I’m currently zonked from Pesach and pandemic weirdness. But think how much worse it is for others and how still worse it could be. … Continue reading

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Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17), Shabbat Rosh Chodesh (Numbers 28:9-15)

The majority of the laws in Deuteronomy are in the next three weeks’ Torah portions, starting with Chapter 12: “These are the laws and rules that you must carefully observe in the land that the LORD, God of your fathers, … Continue reading

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Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1 – 20:27)

(From 2016)  Last week’s Torah portion, Acharei Mot, was full of instructions for purification by means of atonement, sacrifices, and abstention from forbidden sexual contacts.  Now that everyone’s been purified and prepped, they are ready for the next stage: Holiness. … Continue reading

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Shemini (Lev. 9:1 – 11:47), Shabbat Parah (Num. 19:1-22)

From 2016, edited a bit. This week: a stupendous ceremony that ends tragically, clean and unclean animals, and an extra portion about a red-haired young cow. We begin with the ending.  Tomorrow is Shabbat Parah, the third of four Shabbatot … Continue reading

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Acharei Mot–Kedoshim

This week: sex and holiness. But first, a note on Lag B’Omer, which occurs next Thursday.  “Lag” is 33 using the Hebrew alphabet: lamed=30 plus gimel=3.  Lag B’Omer is the 33rd day of “counting the omer” (a barley measure, now … Continue reading

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Tazria-Metzora (Lev. 12:1 – 15:33)

I AM SO TIRED OF THIS WEATHER!  I WANT SPRING!! Ahem. This week’s Torah portion is a double one, Tazria-Metzora.  The contents are rather “icky,” so it is good to get both sections done in one reading. From 2015: “The … Continue reading

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Acharei Mot – Kedoshim (Lev. 16:1 – 20:27)

I am currently working on a presentation for this coming Sunday, on how “natural” versus “man-made” items are valued in Jewish tradition and thus too mentally distracted to think a lot about atonement, forbidden sexual relationships, and holiness, the major … Continue reading

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Tazria-Metzora (Lev. 12:1 – 15:33)

“Eeewww! Gross!” That’s the typical reaction to the Torah portions Tazria (Lev. 12:1- 13:59) and Metzora (Lev. 14:1-15:33), especially if you’re 12 and have just been told this will be your Bar or Bat Mitzvah portion.  At least this year, … Continue reading

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Shemini (Lev. 9:1 – 11:47)

I am still foggily transitioning from Passover.  The boxes are packed but have not yet been moved to the basement.  And it’s a rainy day.  I remember a Sesame Street song from a few decades ago, It’s a Rainy Day, … Continue reading

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