Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – May 13-14, 2022 (13 Iyyar 5782)


May 13-14, 2022                                                                                                        Parashat Emor
13 Iyyar 5782                                                                                                             


The name of this week’s parsha, Parshat Emor, means “say” or “tell” – meaning, “Tell the people what the rules are.” The Holy One is commanding Moses to “tell” his brother Aaron to instruct the priests about the rules of the priesthood. The instructions outline the privileges and responsibilities of the people who hold this sacred role and who carry out religious rituals.

The Rabbis teach that there are two very different kinds of rules: chukim (decrees) and mishpatim (laws). Mishpatim are laws that make rational sense, like not murdering and not stealing. Chukim are divine decrees, rules that we might find confusing, incomprehensible or even irrational in our own day, like sacrificing animals. And yet, our tradition does not require us to accept everything we read without study or debate. Rather, the Torah invites us to think in complex ways and interpret each chapter and verse. Professor Shulamit Reinharz of Brandeis and Professor Ellen Golub of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute write: “…This is what makes us a nation of thinkers and commentators, relentless seekers and interpreters.”

In Pirkei Avot (the words of our sages), the ancient sage Ben Bag Bag teaches: “Turn it and turn it again, for everything is in it. Contemplate it. Grow old over it, and never depart from it, for there is no finer pursuit” (Mishnah Avot 5:26). Through repeated and persistent study and debate, we reveal the inner wisdom of the Torah, gaining inspiration from its meaning.


Pesach Sheni – the Second Pesach (Saturday, May 14 beginning at sundown)

The observance of a second Passover is described in the Book of Numbers 9:6-14. In ancient times, people who were unable to partake of the Passover sacrifice (because it was too far to travel, or because of some ritual impurity) were obligated to perform a “make-up” offering a month later. Pesach Sheni is the time for that offering, so it is a festive occasion just like Pesach. Some people eat matzah on this day as a reminder of the Passover sacrifice.


Please join our Shabbat celebrations in the Synagogue (masks required) or Channel 1960

Friday at 5:15 PM:                  Shabbat Blessings in the Dining Room

 Friday at 6:30 PM:                  Shabbat Evening Service

Saturday at 10:00 AM:           Shabbat Morning Service followed by Blessings in the Dining Room


Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo: Friday evening at 7:25 PM

Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 8:25 PM


Shabbat Shalom                                                                                               Rabbi Sherman