Rabbi Bradley Artson
"The Leprosy Of Irresponsible Speech"
Learning to control our speech will enable us to transform the world into a community that respects the shared humanity of all people.
With this week's Torah portion, we learn a great deal about the ritual function of the kohanim (priests) in helping people cope with infectious disease.
Particularly the illness of 'tzara'at,' leprosy, becomes the focus of sustained attention, presumably because it was quite common in the ancient Near East.
Basing themselves on a story found in the Book of Numbers, the Rabbis of the Midrash viewed leprosy as an external sign of an internal decay. Illness became a symbol for corruption, immorality and callousness.
The link between illness and a lack of ethics arises from the story of Miriam's criticism of Moses' wife for being a Cushite. Clearly, Miriam uses her sister-in-law's ethnicity as a pretext for attacking her brother. Whereas Jewish tradition goes so far in rejecting racism that the Rabbis of the Midrash and Talmud justify Moses' selection of an African woman as his wife, Miriam is unable to restrain her harmful comments and her corrosive bigotry.
In a condemnation that neatly parallels Miriam's criticism that Moses' wife is too black, Miriam is stricken with an illness that leaves her skin a flaky white. Since her 'tzara'at' resulted from her critical words, the Rabbis naturally associated the two.
Thus, the biblical laws on infectious disease became an extended metaphor for self-centeredness, critical or slanderous speech, and hateful deeds.
Things God Hates
Midrash Vayikra understands the law of leprosy as an allusion to seven traits the Lord hates: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked thoughts, feet that run eagerly toward evil, a false witness and one who sows discord among people. How many of these violations pertain to an irresponsible use of language!
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Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson is Vice-President of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles and Dean of its Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies. He served as a congregational rabbi in Southern California for ten years.
May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
4/2/2013 (22 Nisan)
4/3/2013 (23 Nisan)
4/6/2013 (26 Nisan)
Ida (Huddle) Band
4/12/2013 (2 Iyar)
Avraham Gershon Wygoda
Devorah Leah Wygoda
4/15/2013 (5 Iyar)
Lillian Ruth Levin
4/18/2013 (8 Iyar)
Sarah Kurland Fridenberg
4/19/2013 (9 Iyar)
Robert Perry Schloss
4/20/2013 (10 Iyar)
4/21/2013 (11 Iyar)
4/28/2013 (18 Iyar)
4/29/2013 (19 Iyar)
Rabbi Moshe Funk
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Attention BI Families with high school seniors
Shabbat Services: Tazria/Metzora
Friday, April 12th
6 p.m. Services, Chapel
Saturday, April 13th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Cheryl and Mitch Parker in honor of the 50th anniversary of Mitch's bar mitzvah. Kiddush Lunch is also sponsored by Lou and Sally Soverinsky in honor of their 15th wedding anniversary.
Kiddush Lunch is available through the generosity of weekly sponsors. Please e-mail or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. You may also make a donation to the synagogue specifically for the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.
SAVE THE DATE:
B'NAI ISRAEL SYNAGOGUE ANNUAL MEETING
MONDAY, MAY 20TH, 7 P.M.
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Sunday, April 21, 1-3 p.m.
IN CASE OF RAIN: Meet at Meijer on Haggerty Road and Maple for a Scavenger Hunt through the store!
For further Kadima event information,
contact Shira or Marni:
Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3, lower level
April 13th, 20th, 27th supervised youth activities, lower level. To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
Upcoming Community Events
and TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
Laurel Park Place, Livonia
April 21-28, 2013
Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
or call 248-645-7840, ext. 365
BOOK CLUB (Adults)
Book Club meets on the third Sunday of every month. All are welcome.
NEXT MEETING: Sunday, April 21st:
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
All stitchers are welcome.
needlepoint, crochet hook or cross stitch and join the group. There is no charge to attend.
7 PM at the TKA/BI building.
FUTURE DATES: 4/24/ 5/21, 6/10
Just drop-in! No registration required. For more information, e-mail Gail Raben
an Evening of Learning with Rabbi Joel Roth:
"Why Can't We Just Be Jews?: What makes the Conservative Movement distinctive from the other Jewish religious movements and what is the value of recognizing those differences?"
Thursday, May 2nd, 7:30 p.m.
Congregation Beth Shalom, Oak Park
Admission is free, reservations are requested.
Bagels and Basics: Sunday, April 28th
10 a.m., TKA Chapel
Dr. Joel M. Hoffman: "A Short History of the Hebrew Language," based on his book, In the Beginning.
This event is co-sponsored by Temple Emanuel and The Metropolitan Detroit Federation of Reform Synagogues.
SAVE THE DATE:
2013 WALK FOR ISRAEL
SUNDAY, MAY 5TH, hosted by Temple Shir Shalom
with Dr. Mitch Parker
This class is held on Shabbat mornings in the lower level, Room 9.
April 20th, 11 a.m. April 27th, 10 a.m.
Israel Trip Opportunity
Mitch and Cheryl Parker are leading a study trip to Israel December 2013. Overall trip theme: "Who Are We and Where Have We Been?"
For further information, please contact Mitch directly
if you wish to participate. Informational meeting: Sunday, May 5th at 5:30
Tikkun Leil Shavuot
Erev Shavuot, Tuesday May 14th
All-night study sessions led by local rabbis and Jewish educators begin after maariv and conclude with a dawn shacharit service. All are welcome. Details coming soon!
Caring Community Information
Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery
Please e-mail Michael Golob or call the synagogue: 248-432-2729 if you wish to add a name to our communal list.
Our caring community reaches out to one another in a variety of ways. We welcome our new members warmly with a special visit and gift. We provide shiva minyan leaders. We call/visit/provide meals for members who are ill or home-bound, bring a home-cooked shiva meal to mourners in our community, and help to drive members who need a ride to synagogue services and events. If you would like to help in any way, please call or
12 Brianna Dines
12 Arica Jacobson
13 Regina Meisler
13 Matthew Orel
15 Eli Eisman
16 Jonathan Abramson
16 Jack Friedman
18 Karen Rosen
20 Cheryl Berlin
21 Rachel Kapen
21 Jeffrey Lupovitch
22 Marvin Finkelstein
24 Elianna Orel
26 Evan Chudnow
26 Marvin Kozlowski
27 Noel Lawson
27 Adam Weingarden
27 Shira Wolf
30 Charles Seigerman
30 Nathan Soverinsky
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ,
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.