If I forget you Jerusalem, may my right arm forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I don’t remember you if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.” (Tehillim 137:5-6) These two verses capture a vital tenet of our religion and culture, the centrality of Jerusalem.
This week’s Torah portion Emor, אמור, contains within it the section of the “moadim,” מועדים. How exactly to translate the term “moed,” מועד, to convey its proper significance, is not so simple.
Just a few weeks ago we were gathered around a festive table with our family and friends. Our purpose was to retell the events surrounding our Exodus from Egypt. The Haggadah recounts the story of five great rabbis having a Seder together in Bnai Brak, a city in Israel. They were discussing the Exodus from Egypt all night until close to sunrise. What did they have so much to talk about? One clue is found from this week’s Torah reading.
This past week, Jewish communities throughout the world, as well as many non-Jewish communities, marked April 8th, Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, with meaningful commemorations. Our great Torah scholar, Maimonides, lists “remember what Amalek did” and “do not forget what Amalek did” as two separate but closely related Torah mitzvot, incumbent on every Jew. Neither command has any designated time or place to be fulfilled. In fact, they can be accomplished every day, at any time.
Why was the Shabbat before the first Pesach and every Shabbat that precedes Pesach thereafter known as “Shabbat Hagadol,” the Great Shabbat? What was significant about that Shabbat that we commemorate it every year? Click to find out.