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Weekly Message 05.07.2021 Parashat Behar-Bechukotai

Parashat Behar (on the mount) Bechukotai (by my decrees) Leviticus 25-1 - 27:34

HafTorah Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14

Dear friends,

We have come to the end of the book of Leviticus and the end of the month of Iyar. Hopefully we are nearing the end of the pandemic's hold on our daily lives as well.

This Shabbat we return to the sanctuary and our hybrid services both in-person and virtually on Zoom. We will resume reading the Torah as safely as possible. This means that all those receiving an aliyah will chant the blessings from his/her seat if participating in person or unmuted on Zoom if participating virtually. We are working on our Internet connection in the sanctuary to provide the best presentation possible, so please be patient with us on this inaugural Shabbat!

Our double portion of Behar Sinai and Bechukotai closes out the book of Leviticus with more mitzvot relating to the Sabbatical year when the land was to rest and lie fallow and the Jubilee (50th) year when liberty and emancipation are to take place. The famed Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is inscribed with these words from this portion: "Proclaim Liberty Throughout all the Land and to the Inhabitants Thereof". (Leviticus 25:10). The second portion of Bechukotai details the blessings and unfortunately the dire curses for following (or not following) the mitzvot given to the Children of Israel in Leviticus. In our Haftorah from the prophet Jeremiah, this theme is repeated and proclaims the happy result of individual and national faithfulness and the inevitable and disastrous consequences of individual and national faithlessness. It is difficult to read of these consequences in both the Torah reading and the Haftorah, but we know through experience how not caring for our fellow humans and our earth leads to disaster and chaos.

After Shabbat, we have an active and joyous week ahead beginning with Mother's Day on Sunday and continuing with Yom Yerushalayim (our newest holiday celebrating the reunification of the holy city of Jerusalem after the 1967 conflict) on Monday and Rosh Chodesh on Wednesday celebrating the new month of Sivan, the month of the festival of Shavuot which we celebrate a week later with the chanting of the great poem of Ackdamut, the reading of the Book of Ruth, the psalms of praise (Hallel), the Yizkor memorial service (last chance to recite the yizkor prayers in memory of our loved ones, and most importantly, the Ten Commandments which form the basis of our faith.

I have had the privilege of speaking with many of you this week and encouraged by our progress in dealing with these difficult times and wish you all the best.

See you in shul whether it's in the sanctuary or on the computer screen!

Shabbat Shalom, Ron

Ron Becker

Spiritual Leader



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