Naso & Shavout

This week we read parshah (portion) Nasso, found at Bamidbar (Numbers) 4:21-7:89.
Shavout is Sunday night through Tuesday evening (for many people).

It’s amazing what a change in leaving campus 15 minutes later can do to you. Last night it caused my commute home to be almost two hours in length. It was great for my knitting and podcast listening, but not great for my sleep or this post.

It pains me as while I’ve accomplished a considerable amount of learning and my to-do list this week, I’ve not had the liberty to take time to draft this post. Shavout is a holiday I enjoy and one day I’d like to write a proper post/essay about it. One day.

Here are three posts from prior years on either Nasso or Shavout:

The next post will be on Wednesday.

שׁבּת שׁלום

bamidbar v’shavout

This week we start the book of Bamidbar, or Numbers. This first parsha (portion) is also called Bamidbar and is from 1:1 – 4:20. It begins with a census of Israel in the Wilderness. I want to try to share some of what I’ve learned about this parsha (it’s not much).

I have a few new readers and I will try to define non standard English terms. I feel very guilty that I have been lazy lately and not done so. Soon I hope to put together a small page of useful links and will try to define any words I use today. I think that in general google (and wikipedia) do give some decent results in the first page returned, at least to give a brief overview of the terms. They aren’t perfect but are a good starting point. I have tried to link to various explanatory text where I could. It may or may not be at the first mention of the item. I know. Bad-scholar.

What is Bamidbar about? Several classical commentators wrote summaries to the books in the introductions to their commentaries. Nachmanidies (Ramban) wrote that it consists of detailed instructions of the tabernacle whereas the previous book Vayikra (Leviticus) explained the laws of the sacrifices. Abravanel provides what I think is a beautiful summary of the Torah “to this point”: Bereshit (Genesis)- ancestry and origins of Irseal from creation to the exile in Mitzrayim (Egypt). Sh’mot (Exodus)- is about exile and redemption. Vayikra (Leviticus)- initiates Israel into sanctity, purity, and into the service of the Sanctuary and the Cohen (priests). Bamidbar (Numbers)- relates leading of the people (by Moses and Aaron) and why it took 40 years to enter the land promised to them.

Ok. Now I’ll attempt to move into this week’s specific reading, 1:1-4:20.

Why does Bamidbar begin with a census? Why these numbers, in such detail? Why does hashem need it such? Is it to determine military might? If so, then why are the Levites counted? Looking again to Ramban, he suggests that the census was a personal and individual one which impressed upon Israel the “value and self worth of each and every soul- a unique specimen of divine creativity”. Additionally it is about the miracle of our existence, after pestilence and plague, the children of Israel had no succumbed to suffering and persecution on the contrary we increased and multiplied.

sources: Leibowitz, Nehama. (5740/1980) Studies in Bamidbar (Numbers). Aryeh Newman, translator. The World Zionist Organization: Jerusalem.
Judaica Press Tanach with Rashi

In just over a week we will find ourselves in the holiday of Shavout (or Shavous, there are a few other permutations based upon how you choose to pronounce and spell things). I find it a very beautiful holiday (three reasons why). I also know that today I will not do it justice so I’ll provide a few links and send you on your way. :)
Levine, Dr. Yael. “Addressing the Women First,” JOFA Journal, VI, 4, 2007, 11. (pdf)

שׁבּת שׁלום

pesach, shir hashirim, omer … in brief

First: I hope to next post on Sunday night.
Second: I just upgraded to wordpress 2.5. It’s different and I’ve not thoroughly tested everything.
Third: This will be brief, which makes me sad because there are things I’d like to explain. I have a scary large list to accomplish today.

This shabbat is Pesach. There is a special Torah reading, but we break from the normal weekly reading schedule and read a different selection for the holiday. Next week we will return to the order and read Parshat Kedoshim. My pesach is pretty enjoyable considering the other stresses I have experienced this week. I was a little over ambitious about what I thought I’d make to eat all week (considering I wasn’t home two nights), but it hasn’t been too bad.

On the seventh day of pesach we read Shir HaShirim, “Song of Songs”, which is very emotional and allegorical.

From the second night of Pesach we count the omer. We count until we reach forty-night which leads to Shavuot and the giving of the Torah on Har [mount] Sinai.

I’ll try to be back Sunday night with even more completed books. Then I hope to be back on the “normal” schedule until Shavuot (which is a Monday and Tuesday).

שׁבּת שׁלום and chag sameach.

parshah acharei mot, shabbat hagadol, & pesach

[Next post will be, bli neder, the evening of Monday the 21st, otherwise I’ll be next posting on Thursday the 24th.]

This shabbat we read Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:1-18:30

Though I’m sure most (myself included) are more focused on what commences immediately following this Shabbat (aka Shabbat hagadol, the “big shabbat before passover). I’ve been very concerned about editing, cleaning, and buying of food (and honestly knitting of new shawl) that haven’t haven’t yet found much time for this week’s parshah.

Here are some links to help out with either this parshah or other things:

parshah in a nutshell
Death of a Salesman
What’s Bothering Rashi?

May you have a safe and happy & healthy & kosher pesach.

I leave you with this.

שׁבּת שׁלום

parshah metzora v’pesach prep

This week we read Parshah Metzora, found in Vayikra (Leviticus) 14:1-15:33. The haftorah portion is II Kings 7:3-20.

Both texts this week concern those (people or things) in ritual impurity. The Torah describes how purification can be achieved while the haftorah looks into how four lepers reacted and the consequences to their actions.

For more information

.. on the Torah reading:
full text
– commentaries: aishdas compilation (pdf)

.. on the haftorah:
full text
– commentary: better than a donkey’s head
– commentary: Virtually There: Thoughts on the Haftarah for Tazria-Metzora: II Kings 7:3-20

.. Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax—Of cabbages–and kings–*:
walk on the wild side
passover and great story telling
the wine collection
– dirt is not chometz.

* full text available here (and elsewhere)

שׁבּת שׁלום