Chag Sameach and welcome to a special Shavuot edition of On the Other Hand! On this week’s holiday episode, Rabbi Rick Jacobs talks about Ruth, her connection to this unique Jewish festival, and what her story of unity and bridge-building means for us as we celebrate Shavuot today.
Way back in July 1990, when my daughter Katie was two years old, Ellen turned to our little girl and said, "Tell Daddy something he doesn't know." Katie whispered, smiling shyly, "Today is Mommy's birthday." Can you say doghouse?
The point of being Jewish is to have a relationship with God. Yet, a relationship implies a certain give and take, and there is precious little in the Torah that talks about what we have that God could possibly need. What can we give to God?
At the end of Parashat Emor, a disturbing incident is related. In the heat of a fight, a man curses God and is stoned to death for blasphemy (Leviticus 24:10-23). It is understandable that readers may be repulsed by this narrative, and shocked and angry to find it in the Torah.
The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: These are My fixed times, the fixed times of the Eternal, which you shall proclaim as sacred occasions."
Explore B'midbar with questions and ideas for parents and their children on the topic of names, how we get them, and what they mean.
The Book of Ruth, which appears in the third section of the Hebrew Bible, K'tuvim, Writings, is a beautiful folktale written in four short chapters.
In Parashat Emor, the verses in Leviticus 23:1-44 name and describe the sacred times of the Jewish calendar: Shabbat, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and the Pilgrimage Festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. Time becomes a holy thing, and the "normalcy" of time — of one day being no different than any other — is forever differentiated by the weekly Sabbath and by these special festive days.
In Parashat Emor, the Torah reports that a man born of mixed Israelite-Egyptian descent “blasphemed the Name [of God],” was placed on trial, and was stoned to death. A law was then enacted that anyone, Jewish or gentile, who blasphemes the name of God shall be put to death. Over time, in communities throughout the world, laws against blasphemy were put in place to address curses leveled at God as well as perceived slights against some religions.