A small-town policeman stops a motorist for speeding. Peering into the back seat, he sees a large collection of knives, machetes, and swords. The policeman places a cautious hand on his firearm and asks the man to step out of the car. When queried about the contents of the back seat, the driver explains, "Oh, those! Officer, I'm a juggler and those are part of my act."
Skeptical, the policeman calls the man's bluff. "If you can juggle them like you say, I'll let you off," he offers. And sure enough, driver's hands explode into a dizzying frenzy of spinning, twirling, flying blades, reflecting brilliantly in the afternoon sun.
As this occurs, a passing driver says to his wife, "Martha, it's a good thing I gave up drinking... look at the sobriety test they're giving these days!"
In order to be kosher, meat must come from an animal which chews its cud and has split hooves.
What is the significance of these requirements?
The Ten Commandments were engraved upon two tablets—five commandments on each. The commandments on the first tablet focused primarily on self-perfection and observance—i.e., one's personal relationship with G‑d. The second group of commandments focused on ethics and interactions—i.e., one's relationship with others.
A good, balanced Jew is one who excels in both areas. Both the dishonest, Torah-observant person and the generous, non-Torah-observant person fall short of G‑d’s expectations. Perfection is achieved only with meticulous fulfillment of both.
This spiritual balancing act is embodied by the kosher signs discussed in this week’s Torah portion. The animal’s first kosher sign, chewing its cud, represents the importance of self- perfection, whereas the second sign, having split hooves, reminds us of our obligations to our peers.
The ruminant animal, constantly chewing its cud, represents the person who persistently works on his or her inner self, perfecting every aspect over and over again. The spilt hooves (as opposed to closed hooves) represent the person who has mastered open, giving relationships with his or her peers.
Adhering to the kosher laws provides a constant reminder of what it takes to be a good person. We need to be kosher both on the inside and outside—“In the eyes of G‑d and in that of man”—a true juggling act.
Rabbi Sholom Deitsch
JLI - Survival of a Nation
In the spring of 1967, a mere nineteen years after gaining independence, the Jewish state appeared to be in mortal danger; its terrified population faced the prospect of a second holocaust.
The Six-Day War permanently changed the landscape of Israel and world Jewry—its identity, its political discourse, and its view of its position in the family of nations. To mark the war's fiftieth anniversary, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) has produced a comprehensive six-week course, Survival of a Nation. This course investigates the momentous—indeed historic—implications of the events that led up to the war, the war itself, and its aftermath.
The goal of this in-depth evaluation is to determine the ways in which the lessons gleaned from the Six-Day War continue to be relevant, and how the pertinent dilemmas it generated might be effectively tackled.
Survival of a Nation addresses the social, political, and religious issues with which modern Israel grapples, and attempts to provide both clarity and an array of viewpoints. It discovers that many of the major dilemmas that faced Israel fifty years ago have not disappeared, though some have morphed into new forms. Survival of a Nation provides an opportunity for contextualization and clarification of modern Israel and its challenges.
Survival of a Nation: Exploring Israel Through the Lens of the Six-Day War
Lag B'Omer! May 14 - 5pm - at Gesher Jewish Day School
Activities for the Kids!
Watch this space for more details!
Learn Tennis from a Pro!
Learn tennis from Milan Ruzicka, a professional tennis coach! Milan has over a decade of experience teaching tennis at all age and skill levels at the Fairfax County's Audrey Moore Rec Center, the old Annandale Tennis Club and several private courts
We will have four one-hour group lessons, and will learn all the important strokes in tennis -- forehand, backhand, volley and serve. The course will also give you the tools you will need to self-correct problems and keep improving for the rest of your life.
These lessons are for children (ages 6 and up) and adults.
FREE OF CHARGE
Clinics will be for one hour: 9 -10, 10-11, and 11-12 on four Sunday mornings, beginning on April 30. Tennis balls and rackets will be provided (if you have a racket, we suggest you bring it).
Please sign up early, noting your name, child or adult (teenagers in this category), and your desired time slot.
The 49-day "Counting of the Omer" retraces our ancestors' seven-week spiritual journey from the Exodus to Sinai. Each evening, starting on the second night of Pesach, we recite a special blessing and count the days and weeks that have passed since the Omer; the 50th day is Shavuot, the festival celebrating the Giving of the Torah at Sinai.
Tennis Lessons May. 7, 2017 - 9:00 am Free tennis lessons from a Tennis Pro. Slots at 9am, 10am, and 11am. For children (ages 6+) and adults.
JLI: Survival of a Nation May. 8, 2017 - 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm One fateful week in June 1967 redrew the map of the Middle East. Fifty years later, Israel continues to face numerous existential threats.
We'll explore the impossible yet important questions of our time with affectionate and fervent patriotism, while also remaining realistic, and morally anchored.
This spellbinding course will sweep you up in its narrative force and abiding love for our nation's history and the best of its traditions, and will not let go of you until it's done More Info »
Weekly Parsha Discussion May. 11, 2017 - 8:00 pm Join us for an insightful torah discussion relating the parsha of the week to our daily lives-- led by Rabbi Deitsch
Kiddush Sponsor: Taubman & Isaacson May. 13, 2017 Taubman: In gratitude for the blessings and miracles Hashem has bestowed upon us, and for Helen's birthday.
Isaacson: Ted's Hebrew birthday and their 11th wedding anniversary.
Tennis Lessons May. 14, 2017 - 9:00 am Free tennis lessons from a Tennis Pro. Slots at 9am, 10am, and 11am. For children (ages 6+) and adults.
The paradigm of all obstacles is the Sea of Reeds. Only six days earlier the children of Israel had fled their slavery, but now an impasse stood before them, with Pharaoh and his army charging from behind.
But the greatest of barriers turned into the greatest of miracles. Not only did the sea become an ambush for the enemy, but also a path that led the children of Israel to their ultimate freedom.
So it is with every obstacle. When you’re out to do the right thing, the entire world is there to assist you—including the most formidable threats, the most impossible challenges. The bigger they are, the more impossible to traverse, the greater the miracle they will provide.
That is the true reality of everything in this world: to serve you on your mission. What is your mission? To make this world miraculous.
The businessman was at his wits’ end. For years, he had eked out a living through the small concession that the Polish government had granted him. And now, his license was suddenly revoked, and he had no idea where his next few zlotys would come from.
On the eighth day, following the seven days of their inauguration, Aaron and his sons begin to officiate as kohanim (priests); a fire issues forth from G‑d to consume the offerings on the altar, and the divine presence comes to dwell in the Sanctuary.
Aaron’s two elder sons, Nadav and Avihu, offer a “strange fire before G‑d, which He commanded them not” and die before G‑d. Aaron is silent in face of his tragedy. Moses and Aaron subsequently disagree as to a point of law regarding the offerings, but Moses concedes to Aaron that Aaron is in the right.
G‑d commands the kosher laws, identifying the animal species permissible and forbidden for consumption. Land animals may be eaten only if they have split hooves and also chew their cud; fish must have fins and scales; a list of non-kosher birds is given, and a list of kosher insects (four types of locusts).
Also in Shemini are some of the laws of ritual purity, including the purifying power of the mikvah (a pool of water meeting specified qualifications) and the wellspring. Thus the people of Israel are enjoined to “differentiate between the impure and the pure.”