Dr. Reuven Kimelman
The parashah shares the name Vayikra with the book it begins, Leviticus. We concluded the Book of Exodus with a description of the construction of the Tabernacle and the priestly vestments. The Book of Numbers follows with the laws for the protection of the cultic appurtenances while in transport through the wilderness. Though Leviticus is a type of priestly manual, most of its laws are addressed to all Israel. This is most fitting for a people that was just declared to be a "kingdom of priests."
It is easy to get lost in details in Leviticus without realizing that one is actually being inducted into a theology of ritual. The theology of Leviticus uses the cult to promote the idea that God is beyond the reach of all the forces of the world except one--humanity. Only humans have the "demonic" power to expel God from the sanctuary by polluting it morally or ritually. Thus the priests are constantly engaged in either purging the sanctuary of its impurities or getting the people to atone for their wrongs.
Leviticus believes that divine accessibility is coordinated with human behavior. We have the power through the morality of our behavior to make God immanent or transcendent. Divine intimacy with humanity depends upon the quality of human action. If by polluting the sanctuary we can make it unfit, as it were, for divine living, just think what we could do by sanctifying it.
The great polarities of Leviticus are contained in two sets of antonyms: impurity and holiness, death and life. The implied equation is "Impurity is to holiness as death is to life" (impurity: holiness ~ death: life). If impurity is associated with death as holiness is with life, then the great source of purity is the fountainhead of life, just as death is the great generator of impurity. Israel, says Leviticus, can serve the living God by avoiding a life of impurity; indeed, through complying with the commandments of life, Israel triumphs over death and chooses life.
Reuven Kimelman is a Professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University.
for additional insights on this week's parsha and others, visit The JTS Torah Commentary archive: http://www.jtsa.edu
May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
3/7/2014 (5 Adar II)
3/8/2014 (6 Adar II)
Rose Lovinger Columbus
3/11/2014 (9 Adar II)
Sharon Florence Weisberg
3/12/2014 (10 Adar II)
3/14/2014 (12 Adar II)
3/17/2014 (15 Adar II)
3/21/2014 (19 Adar II)
Jewel Dorothy Shuback
3/24/2014 (22 Adar II)
3/25/2014 (23 Adar II)
3/30/2014 (28 Adar II)
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Caring Community Information
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B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
This Shabbat, March 8th, there is a TKA bar mitzvah. Please park at Prince of Peace and take the shuttle to the synagogue.
Friday, March 7th
6 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv,
Saturday, March 8th
9 a.m. Services, CHAPEL
10 a.m. Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3 for ages 12 and under.
Kiddush is in the lower level and is sponsored by the Kiddush Lunch Fund.
Click here to help with Kiddush Lunch
*Kiddush Lunch is available through donations to the Kiddush Lunch Fund, the generosity of weekly sponsors, and volunteer efforts of our congregants and regular attendees. Please e-mail
or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. To sponsor as part of a "group," please e-mail Joanna Abramson
or Mindy Shuback
. You may also make a donation to the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here. To sign up to help prepare Kiddush Lunch please use the "volunteer spot" button above.
We warmly welcome new members Barrettt and Karyn Zeff and their sons Luke and Zane to the B'nai Israel Synagogue Family.
Purim is just around the corner.
THIS SUNDAY, MARCH 9TH IS FAMILY NIGHT AT MINYAN. WE WILL BE ASSEMBLING MISHLOACH MANOT FOR SENIORS. CLICK ON THE VOLUNTEER SPOT LINK TO SIGN UP TO ATTEND MINYAN, STAY FOR DINNER AND HELP ASSEMBLE THE PACKAGES.
NEXT SISTERHOOD MEETING:
MONDAY, MARCH 10TH
7 P.M., BI/TKA CHAPEL
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
FAMILY CAMP 2014 MARCH 21st-23rd
NCJW Annual Jewish Youth Awards
National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit is proud to continue the tradition of honoring exceptional high school students who demonstrate leadership within the Jewish community, and is awarding scholarship money through its annual Jewish Youth Awards. All High School Seniors are invited to apply. 2014 AWARDS: DEADLINE for application submission is Friday, March 7, 2014 at noon. click here for complete award information and application.
Family Night at Minyan, one Sunday/month.
Bring your family to help make minyan at 5 p.m. and enjoy pizza dinner in the social hall following services. MARK YOUR CALENDAR: 3/9 (we will assemble Mishloach Manot for BI seniors), 4/27, 6/1
Click on the Volunteer Spot Link to sign up for March 9th Dinner and minyan, and mishloach manor preparations.
APRIL 17TH AND
Upcoming Shabbat Youth Activities
SHABBAT CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP DATES for youth ages 7-12. 30 minutes of tefilla and parsha fun.
11-11:45 a.m., ROOM 9
APRIL 5th, MAY 3 (10:30 A.M.) JUNE 7 YOUTH SHABBAT
SHABBAT TEEN ACTIVITIES
D'VAR TORAH COCOA CAFE
for ages 13-17,
11:00-11:45 a.m., Social Hall
Listen to the D'var Torah in the main sanctuary, then give your take over cocoa and cider. Kiddush lunch following, with Spirited singing and Birkat Hamazon led by teens. e-mail email@example.com for more information. FUTURE DATES:
APRIL 5TH, MAY 3RD
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
Saturdays, 11-11:45 a.m.
March 8 and 22
April 12 and 26 May 10 and 24 June 7 and 21
Mitch will focus on Ashrei, Aleinu, the Kaddish, Adon Olam, Yigdal, Hallel and Birkat Hamazon.
Class meets in the lower level, Room 9.
Lunch and Learn Series
with Hillel Buechler, Ramah Fellow
First Tuesday of every month
Next session: 12:15 p.m., April 8th.
Meet at Barnes and Noble on Orchard Lake Road Bring your own lunch. There is no charge to attend. Please e-mail Hillel Buechler if you plan to attend.
Shabbat Shiur Series
Shabbat Afternoons, last Saturday of the month following lunch and prior to minha. Shiur (class) will meet in the chapel. All our welcome. There is no charge to attend.
7 Oren Duer
8 Luke Zeff
9 Rita Goldstone
12 Loraine Kuhn
13 Frank Ellias
14 Larry Charlupski
20 David Pappas
20 Ariel Taub
23 Mindy Shuback
24 Talya Berger
24 Jeremy Rosenberg
26 Karen Orzach
26 Roi Orzach
29 Brittany Beider
29 Mark Webber
30 Ryan Schmeltz
31 Sharon Knoppow
31 Meredith Weingarden
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
Upcoming TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
SOUTH OAKLAND SHELTER
HOUSING OF GUESTS AT TKA/BI,
MARCH 23-30, 2014
TKA will once again be housing guests for one week from South Oakland Shelter. There are many ways to get involved and help. Everyone's help is needed! Chuck Seigerman and Steve Dines are the BI point people for this. Click here to sign up online or e-mail Steve or Chuck with any questions.
Click here to assist with 3/27 Dinner
Click here to assist with 3/25 Dinner