This week we divert from the orderly sequence of yearly readings and we will read Sedra Shemini next week. We go back to the story of the worship of the Golden Calf, the 13 attributes of God’s mercy and the listing of the Chagim,
In the middle of Pesach, which is a defining moment for us as Jews, it is our tradition to be together. Sadly, this year is a challenge. It is in the customs of Pesach that we define ourselves in an even more intense way than during the rest of the year. Somehow, most of us will have Matzo in our homes though the rest of the customs may be reduced or modified in some ways. We are a people of ritual; eating together, or celebrating together as a community, or simply giving thanks
In the Maftir, we read from Bamidbar:
וּבַיּוֹם֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מִקְרָא־קֹ֖דֶשׁ יִֽהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑
The seventh day shall be a holy convocation for you
Shabbat is traditionally a time of stepping back from the week and considering what is important and meaningful rather than what we see as the urgent outside pressures of work.
With the enforced isolation around us it would be easy to slip into a habit of increasing time spent on computers, mobile phones or television; sometimes described as “quality time” or “me time”. What we are being offered in the present is an opportunity to spend more time and engage more with our families, our friends and our neighbours; to talk to them. We may have to follow “social distancing” guidelines but we are being offered a chance to reinforce ourselves as a community and as part of wider society.
In the Haftorah we read from the Book of Ezekiel, the vision of the valley of dry bones that come to life. Eventually, we, also, can “come to life”