We're coming upon another special Shabbat, namely Shabbat Parah, the Sabbath of the Red Heifer, one of the four special ones preceding Passover which is now less than a month away!
This Shabbat, we will read Parashat Ki Tisa, one of the most stirring portions of the Torah beginning with the census of the Hebrew people and continuing with Moses at Sinai receiving the sacred tablet only to return to the encamped Israelites to discover that they are worshiping a golden calf. We then chant a special additional reading from Bamidbar (the Book of Numbers) that recalls the selection and sacrifice of the Red Heifer to purify the nation in anticipation of the festival of Passover.
This portion and the maftir (additional) reading is especially relevant and deeply meaningful at this time of year when we begin our once-a-decade national census and while learning the laws of purification, face a new and dangerous virus of which the best protection against is to "purify" (i.e. keep clean and germ free) our bodies and souls and take proper precautions. I will expand on these words at services tonight (Friday) at 7:30 pm and Saturday at 9:30 am at which time we will read the Torah and chant the accompanying Haftorah from the Prophet Ezekiel (also dealing with purification prior to Passover).
On Sunday at 11 am, we continue our adult education study of the 613 mitzvot concentrating on those relating to prophecy and idolatry, also good timing as we will have discussed the worship of the golden calf on the previous day. Then at 5 pm, we are privileged to enjoy our monthly dine-out gathering at the Inn on the Gulf in Hudson Beach. This is a great opportunity to share quality time and a great meal with congregants and friends.
And speaking of friends and congregants, our own Aaron Epstein is celebrating his 85th birthday this weekend and will be in shul on Friday and at the dine-out on Sunday. It would be great to have large and enthusiastic gatherings to help him further enjoy this wonderful occasion! Looking forward to spending this special Shabbat weekend with you, Ron