Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Haftorah Beam - Emor

The haftorah reading for this parsha is not as problematic as the Torah reading which I discussed last year, and echoes the theme of priestly obligations.  They are subject to more rules than the general population in matters of dress, diet, marriage and so on.  Rather than being more privileged, as you would expect of the priestly class they are more restricted.  This is summed up thus:

כח  וְהָיְתָה לָהֶם לְנַחֲלָה, אֲנִי נַחֲלָתָם; וַאֲחֻזָּה, לֹא-תִתְּנוּ לָהֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל--אֲנִי, אֲחֻזָּתָם.28 And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance; and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession.

The additional restrictions and obligations are seen as a prized value, representing G*d's will through them. The verse goes further to remind the reader that the Levites had no portion in the Land of Israel, but instead lived among the other tribes.  This, too, is a reminder that their portion of divinity trumps worldly possessions.  This is parallel to Jewish "Chosenness".  We are Chosen, yes -- for additional restrictions, for prolonged exile among the nations, and for bearing the brunt of persecution throughout the ages. But we bear these difficulties as a badge of honor, a symbol of our special relationship with our Creator.

This contrast is echoed again in this week's observances:  Just a week after the Festival of Freedom (Passover), we commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day;  a week after that (yesterday), we remembered the fallen soldiers in Israel's wars for its national survival; and today we return to the spirit of joy with Israeli Independence Day.  Our joy and our freedom are inextricably linked to our struggles, both in the past and in the current generation.

This is how Memorial Day is observed in Israel.


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