To become holy, to be like Hashem, that is the divinely-mandated charge that emerges from the opening of Parshat Kedoshim. No small feat, indeed! And the rest of the parsha, with its numerous injunctions, gives us much-needed guidance as to HOW one goes about becoming holy (a word whose meaning is not so obvious!). In the literature, it is referred to as the Holiness Code.  Continue reading Kedoshim

The Seder & Jewish Memory

Dr Josef Yerushalmi, Jewish historian and author of the book Zakhor, is famous for talking about the importance of Jewish memory, as opposed to Jewish history.  For some, history conjures up images of dusty books, full of dates and details.  History is about knowledge, and can be quite inert.  Yerushalmi contrast this with memory, which by definition is alive, personal, and meaningful.  History is about the past; memory necessarily informs our future. Continue reading The Seder & Jewish Memory

Metzorah – “My House has Chicken Pox!” or “Out, Damned Spot”

This week’s parsha continues the theme of negaim –blemishes found on the exterior of physical objects.  Last week, we were introduced to bodily afflictions, such as tzaraat, and this week we discuss maladies of the home, wherein spots appear on the walls of one’s house… Continue reading Metzorah – “My House has Chicken Pox!” or “Out, Damned Spot”