Monthly Services

In April our Shabbat Service was held at the UUCOB on Herbert Perry Rd. in Kitty Hawk.

Click here for directions to the UUCOB

Please join us!

  Most recent service:
Date:
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Time: 10:00 AM


Parsha Metzorah

Leviticus Chapters 14-15

        When there is no leap month, this week’s parsha is combined with last week’s, but because we have a leap month this lunar year, we undo the double parshot; hence this week’s parsha is Metzorah, Leviticus chapters 14-15.  This portion deals with the laws of purification from both a hygienic and a ritual perspective.  You listened to the summary of the 7 aliyot.  Pretty boring stuff.  The specific topics covered are leprosy and bodily secretions, with leprosy being the predominant item.  Other than the fact that purification and sacrifice must follow specific rituals, I find little significance in the rituals themselves.
        But that was prior to 2016, when I watched bimbam.com, and I really liked their perspective. They conclude that the disease leprosy was a misinterpretation of a Greek word that covered some sort of scaly manifestation that could be found in homes, such as mold, on clothes, or in numerous types of rashes or sores on the human body.  My sources discern that such afflictions were ascribed to people who spoke “lashon ha-rah”, that is, spoke badly of others and gossiped.  The Bible does not like people who spread evil rumors, and especially in today’s social media frenzy, it is very hard to reverse evil rumors.  So perhaps what my sources are saying is that a person who spoke badly of others might first have their house infected with mold, and if they did not stop their evil speech, the infliction might move to their clothing, and eventually to their bodies.  In the Bible, the priest would determine if the person had such a skin disease, and if they did, they would be declared “unclean” and sent out of the city and into isolation.  The priest would visit them weekly and if and when they were determined to be “clean”, they would then be allowed back into the community and a ritual sacrifice would be performed at that time.  If we consider that the cause was evil speech and gossip, then the isolation period could be thought of as a time for spiritual reflection and recognition of the damage that evil speech can have.  In addition, just as isolation would prevent a communicable disease from spreading to others, by isolating a gossiper, it prevented that “trait” from being picked up by others.
The Bible does not say specifically that evil speech and gossip are the source of this malady, and the Bible does not mention the words libel and slander.  But just like in today’s world where anyone can post almost anything almost anywhere, you really need to be mindful of what you say and how you say it, and what you do and how you do it.  Even though there are ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur where people are supposed to go to their neighbors and ask for forgiveness for their sins, we all recognize that we are just frail human beings, and it is very difficult to forget harsh words.  Like feathers in the wind, the story goes, where each feather is a piece of gossip, it is next to impossible to pick up every feather.  So, as we say in the silent prayer at the end of the Amidah, “O God, keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceit…Open my heart to Your torah, and I will hasten to do Your Mitzvot”, always remember to use good judgment in what you say and write, and how you say and write it.
    This is the fourth time I’ve had a chance to discuss this parsha, and I am so glad to have finally found so much meaning in it.  Again, I encourage you to visit bimbam.com for their insight into each week’s parsha.
    As always, April and May contain many significant Jewish holidays.  Today is the 8th day in the month of Nisan.  By the time we meet next May 18th, it will be the 13th day in the month of Iyar.  So what’s coming up?
    The first, of course, is Passover, which always begins on the 15th day of Nisan.  It celebrates the liberation and exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.  On the second night of Passover, we’ll be having our Community Seder at Argyles.  Concurrently, we begin counting the Omer.  Jews were expected to bring an omer, or measure, of grain to the synagogue for 7 weeks and a day, or 50 days.  The 50th day was Shavuot, which originally celebrated the first wheat harvest.  Short prayers are recited to recall each day during the counting of the Omer.
    The 2nd holiday is sort of modern.  The 24-hour period from Wednesday, May 1st through Thursday, May 2nd, is Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.  This event commemorates the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during World War II.  We’ll be having our annual Memorial Service on Saturday evening, May 4th at 7 pm at the UUCOB.  Our student essay contest winners from the Dare and Currituck County schools will be reading their papers prior to The Reading of Names.
    The 3rd holiday is Rosh Chodesh, which celebrates any new month.  In this case the Rosh Chodesh for Iyar will be celebrated on May 6th.
    The final holiday is also somewhat modern.  It is Yom Ha’atzmaut, or Israel Independence Day.  It is always celebrated on the 5th day of Iyar, which this year falls on May 9th.  Israel became a free nation on May 14th of 1948.

    The Haftorah comes from 2nd Kings 7: 3-20.  However, other than the fact that 4 of the individuals in the story are afflicted with some sort of skin ailment caused by their unmentioned sins, I find little else to comment on.