Shabbat Shalom Dear Readers Parshat Metzora 5776

April 15, 2016

Shabbat

besyata

 

This week, Parshat Metzora will be ushered in by candle lighting in New York City at 7:05, which is 18 minutes before sunset The time of candle lighting in your city can be found by going to Chabad.org, which also has articles of an inspirational nature that can be printed out to be read on Shabbat. Aish.com has useful learning resources as well.

Chabad.org has an article by a woman whose friendship in her youth with a German girl gave direction to her spiritual search. It would not surprise me if the German girl described in the article might have Jewish ancestors. In the century prior to Hitler’s rise to power, the rate of intermarriage, as well as conversion to Christianity among German Jews was very high. The people we regard as strangers may be closer to us than we think.

This week’s parsha deals with the laws of family purity, which involves a cycle of intimacy and separation, which is ended by ritual immersion in a pool of water as a part of the cycle of married life. The terms “clean” and “unclean” as a translation of the Hebrew terms “tahar” and “tumeh” are extremely misunderstood. Chabad. org deals with these concepts at length, in an article devoted to clearing up the misunderstandings of these concepts, and describes the term “tumeh” when it pertains to menstruation as follows.

The tum’ah of niddah, however, is a built-in part of a woman’s natural monthly cycle. Her “descent” from a peak level of potential holiness (i.e., where the creation of a new life is possible) does not mean that she is, G‑d forbid, “sinful” or “degraded,” “inferior” or “stigmatized.” On the contrary, precisely because there is such holiness involved in a woman’s possession of the G‑dly power to create, as if ex nihilo, a new life within her body, there is the possibility for greater tum’ah—but also a great elevation

Aish.com notes that these laws, which restrict intimacy within marriage during the time of separation shifts the focus during the time of month a couple must separate to an intellectual and emotional emphasis that is critical to the success of a marriage.

Aish.com also has an article about the Soviet campaign against Judaism in the early years of the Soviet Union. During this time, there were even “Red Haggadahs” and “red seder meant to replace Jewish beliefs with communist faith.

It is often stressed that supra rational commandments such as dietary laws and laws of sacrifices are observed ultimately for their own sake. Insights come as an afterthought, although they increase the quality of life as a result of their observance. It is helpful, even essential to read commentaries are based on each week’s parsha, especially the sections that deal with laws, censuses and other non narrative aspects of the Torah.

The Haftarah this week is II Kings 7:3-20.. It deals with the four lepers who were instrumental in bringing news to King Jehoram of the Northern kingdom of Israel that King Ben Hadad of Aram had been defeated by direct divine intervention.

Shabbat ends after nightfall on Saturday night. Chabad.org also lists local times for the end of Shabbat.

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