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Shabbat Shalom - Part 4

Behukotai (My Statutes) – Leviticus 26:3 – 27:34

For centuries, anti-Semitism was fueled by a belief that G-d had abandoned His people, that the promises that had been listed specifically in the Bible for the Jewish people were no longer relevant.  Medieval Christian theologies were based on this premise.  But it is the clear statement in verse 44 that belies this idea, for G-d explicitly states that, despite exile and deserved punishment, G-d will never break His covenant with us.

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Behar (At The Mountain) – Leviticus 25:1 – 26:2

The Sabbath reminds us that G-d created the world and we are commanded to rest one day each week, to stop our activities of work and creation and devote ourselves to spiritual pursuits. The land does the same in the seventh year and reverts to its original owner in the 50th year, after seven Sabbatical cycles.

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Shmini (Eighth) – Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47

One of the most tragic events in the Bible takes place in this week’s reading. Leviticus 10 begins with the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu, who brought a “strange fire” before G-d. It is not clear exactly what Nadav and Avihu did that angered G-d.

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Passover – Exodus 33 – 34

Parents are encouraged to do whatever they need to do to arouse their children’s curiosity. In some cases, they dress up as the ancient Israelites with a sack and a stick, and they march around the table until the children question this bizarre behavior. And then, the parents can respond, while quoting Scripture, how their forefathers left Egypt in a hurry, “their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.”

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