Torah and Tidbits: Ahrei Mot

Torah and Tidbits

Torah: This Shabbat the Torah reading is Ahrei Mot, which we also read on Yom Kippur. Among the topics are the multiple sin offerings that culminated in sending the scapegoat bearing the people’s sins to die in the desert. In our tradition, Yom Kippur is a moment to reassess our past and to start anew. And yet, we do not wait for Yom Kippur to reflect on how we have missed the mark and how we might improve. In our thrice-daily amidah prayer, which outlines the process of enabling a redeemed world, we pause to beat on our chest with the words, “selach lanu avinu ki hatanu”- “forgive us our Divine parent because we have sinned.” At the completion of that prayer, we traditionally sit, place our head on our left arm, and read further supplications for forgiveness. The goal is not to diminish ourselves, but to elevate us. This Shabbat when we read of Yom Kippur, we are reminded that each day is an opportunity to become more fully human, more fully identified with the hopes and expectations of our Divine parent.

Rabbi Morty Leifman, z’l. Rabbi Leifman passed away yesterday. I loved him. He was a spiritual giant. He spent two Shabbatot at CBI, during which time I got to know him more closely. When I would go to NYC, I would visit with him. He served as a Vice-President at the Jewish Theological Seminary and as the head of the Cantorial school. He knew so much Judaism and loved telling colorful stories of his teachers, both elevating and humanizing them. He touched and inspired with a big heart and much wisdom. I share with you a tribute by his beloved friend, Rabbi Jack Riemer.

Dreams- Wednesday at 12:15. This coming Wednesday is my second seminar on “Sweet Sleep” with a focus on “Dreams.” We will consider the dreams of Jacob, Avimelech, and Joseph in the Bible and their transformative effect; the nature of dream interpretation in the Talmud and how it influenced Freud and Jung; The Zohar’s imaginings of the journeys of the soul while we sleep; and how we might more effectively become aware of dreams and gain wisdom from them. Come and learn more about your dreams and enjoy some of Fereshta’s gourment pizza. Please register here.

CBI-Tustin in today’s Jerusalem Post. On the evening of September 11th we will host a debate between Daniel Gordis of Jerusalem and Peter Beinart of NYC, representing political right-center and left-center in the American Jewish relationship to Israel. This event will draw a High Holyday size crowd and is sponsored by the Joseph and Barbara Baim Foundation. Rabbi Gordis wrote me this morning to alert me of his “shout out” in his weekly Jerusalem Post column. In reading Gordis, you will see that the differences between these two thoughtful men will make for a lively evening. Please put the date on your calendar.

Wishes to you of Shabbat Shalom-


Ps. Can you believe that last Friday was still Pesech?