Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When The Moon Hits Your Eye

Like A Big Pizza Pie, That's Emor, Eh? 

 In Napoli, where love is king
When boy meets girl, here's what they say

This week, the whole world celebrated the Supermoon of 2012, whereby our one and only Moon came as close to our one and only Earth as it ever will, until the next time.

Here in Albuquerque, much of the Moon's magnificence was obscured by an unruly bunch of dark clouds, a rarity in the Duke City, but whose untimely timing seemed to portend something bigger and ... yes, better.

This, Abq Jew reminds you, is one of the occasions during the Jewish year when we get to read (from, for those following the triennial or other non-traditional Torah reading cycle), Parshat Emor ("Say").

In Parshat Emor are enumerated all the Jewish Festivals and the laws and customs surrounding same, making these portions a popular Torah reading for Sukkot (twice!) and Pesach.  Only on Shavuot, the Holiday of Mystery, do these portions of Parshat Emor go unread.  "Why?", Abq Jew hears you ask.

Anyway, wouldn't it be cool if we could assemble a drasha (see A Murder of Crows for definition) of rabbis to expound on Parshat Emor, all in one place?  Which is to say, right here?  Abq Jew certainly thinks so, and so ...

Let's start with a blog drasha via the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) entitled I Will Shelter You:
Way back in July 1990, when my daughter Katie was two years old, Ellen turned to our little girl and said, “Tell Daddy something he doesn’t know.” Katie whispered, smiling shyly, “Today is Mommy’s birthday.” Can you say doghouse?  More
Not to be outdone, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) offers Torah Sparks for Parshat Emor:
Much of parashat Emor is dedicated to the special obligations and elevated status of the Israelite priest, the kohen. Reflecting the Jewish people’s preeminent concern with life and with godly behavior in this world, the kohen is forbidden direct contact with dead bodies, which are a source of ritual contamination. An exception is made only when the deceased is an immediate relative, and so the priest is a primary mourner.  More
Meanwhile, the Orthodox Union (OU) offers Introvert / Extrovert from Rabbi Dr Tzvi Hersh Weinreb:
Although many of his adherents deny it, he definitely had an anti-Semitic streak and was at least, for a time, sympathetic to the Nazi cause. Yet he was one of the major psychological theorists of the 20th century, and I personally have found his insights into the human mind both fascinating and practical.

His name was Carl Jung ...  More
But Chabad is never, ever to be outdone.  Along with a slew of educational materials for every Jew with whatever background and whatever viewpoint, Chabad offers a series called Torah in Ten, featuring Rabbi Chaim Miller.  Here is Rabbi Miller on Parshat Emor:

Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos.

And yet.  Every week, the talented, dedicated folks at G-dcast produce a video commentary on the Torah portion.  Each week, a different storyteller - some musical, some poetic, some just straight-up, tells the story of the current Torah portion ... and then they animate it!  And for Parshat Emor -
Sometimes, you've just gotta speak up. Texting, blogging, tweeting, Facebooking - they don't count. It's hard for a lot of us, and it was REALLY hard for Moses. So this week, Temim Fruchter steps out in front of the drum kit to give us some advice on how to do it well.

What Abq Jew thinks is incredibly wonderful (but which drives Abq Jew's wife, Perri Yellin the Artist, mad) is that one can go on and on forever with more commentaries, more drashas, more viewpoints.  But for now -

That's Emor, Eh?

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