Shabbat Acharei Mot & Kedoshim

Candles Friday 1st May 7:32pm
Havdalah 2nd May 8:15 pm

LAG (the 33rd) Day of the Omer is on Thursday,
when the period of national mourning ends.

The whole of the Book of Leviticus, Vayikrah, is called the Book of Holiness. So far it has been concerned with Sacrifices, Priests, Ritual Purity and Impurity through disease. All things that have not been applicable for two thousand years and even then did not apply outside of the Land of Israel. So what is their relevance, their message for us today?

These ideas, common to all early societies divided space into areas of ordinary activity and areas of holy activity. They divided humans into states in which they could come into Holy places and states in which they could not come into holy places. This was all the equivalent to what we would nowadays call State and Religious Ceremonial. The King inhabited his palace, his throne room, his space. Priests could enter their sanctuary spaces. Ordinary people could either watch from outside or if they wanted to come closer they had to be in a special state. Just as nowadays we might exclude people with communicable diseases or with arms or if they posed a threat.

But holiness did not just refer to public spaces and places. It applied every day in the way people behaved towards each other. If one wanted to be included in a community one had to behave in a particular way. Otherwise one was excluded.

That is why this week we read about what we would call ethical issues, the ways people were expected to behave. It starts with matters of sexual standards, immorality, incest and abuse and then goes on to deal with how to treat other human beings fairly and with consideration.

Being a good person is not just a matter of abiding by the law, by ones outward behavior. Just as important is how one behaves morally towards others, when ones actions must be “holy,” good and ethical too.


Shabbat Tazriah Metzorah

Candles Friday April 24th 7:25pm
Havdalah April 25th 8:21pm

The two sections we read this week both focus on the human body and the sorts of changes it is subject to. We start with miracle of childbirth. But the Torah recognizes that this amazing and frightening transformation that motherhood brings to the body and the mind is so powerful that it needs time for one to adjust back to normality. The great gift of life starts with pleasure but then proceeds through the incredible extended distortion of the female body and the pain of childbirth. The body and the mind need time to heal.

The Torah goes on to discusses other things that affect the human body outwardly like diseases of the skin, limbs and body. They are all occurrences that change us as we feel ourselves and as we are perceived by others. Because in Judaism we look at the world holistically we realize that the body affects the mind and vice versa. That is why the priests who also the doctors of those days sought to heal emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. And that is why in addition to the medical steps taken to heal and cure, there were also ceremonies and procedures to help ones mind and spirit recover too.

We never took the view, like some Christian denominations, that we should not try to cure but leave it all to God and prayer. We always believed in both. One needs the best medical treatment available but one also needs to be spiritually healthy too.

We are so very aware nowadays how things like stress and pressure can themselves cause the body to deteriorate and decline. It has taken thousands of years for us to realize that psychological illnesses are as significant as physical ones, that they interact and need treatment too.

But the Torah teaches that the other dimension, the spiritual one, also needs to be nurtured and be healthy. Otherwise simply treating the physical symptoms will not lead to a permanent cure, only a temporary one. We need doctors of the soul as well as of the body.


Last Days of Pesah

7th Day Thursday Evening Candles 7.09pm

Friday 10th April service 9.30am
Friday Night candles 7.10pm

8th Day Shabbat 11th April Service 9.30am
Guest Speaker at 11.30am
Distinguished Neo-Conservative, Dr. Richard Perle,
advisor to three presidents
After his speech Dr. Perle will take questions, so come prepared!

Shabbat and Festival end 8.06pm


Revised Pesah 2015 Timetable

First Days Thursday Night April 2nd Check for Hametz

Friday April 3rd
Fast of First born
Friday 8.00 A.M. minyan, with a Siyum, at 587 5th Ave. (between 47th & 48th Streets) 

We stop eating Hametz at 10.50am

Evening service Park East on 68th st. at 6.00 p.m.

First Seder Candles 7.02pm

Saturday 4th April 1st Day
Service 9.30am

Shabbat ends and Candles & Second Seder 7.59pm

Sunday 5th 2nd Day
Service 9.30am
Festival ends 8pm

Second Days
Thursday 9th April Candles 7.09pm

Friday April 10th 7th Day Candles 7.10pm
Service 9.30am

Saturday April11th 8th Day
Service 9.30am

Guest Speaker Dr Richard Perle

Havdalah 8.06pm

To sell your Hametz, please email the location to:
before Friday morning April 3rd