Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary

May 15 & 16, 2020
Parashiyot Behar-Bechukotai
22 Iyar 5780
37th Day of the Omer

Shabbat Shalom,
Can we ever calculate the value of a person? The end of this week’s parsha (Torah portion) deals with this very subject. The determination of a person’s worth was based on gender, age, and other factors. Today the idea of categorizing people and assigning values to their worth is appalling! Yet we see it all the time: men are paid more than women for the same job; seniors and other groups of people are often overlooked; and celebrities are often seen as having higher value than others.

My colleague Rabbi Loren Sykes reminds us that the global pandemic has turned our attention toward this issue of valuing human life. Judaism upholds the value of pikuach nefesh—saving a life at all costs, even if it means not gathering for services and not visiting the sick. Yet we have seen that medical professionals are forced to decide which patients will get precious limited resources that may help save their lives and which patients will not receive this critical care. We
are disheartened when we discover that sometimes seniors and those with medical
complications are viewed as a lower priority. This challenges the Jewish belief that every human life is precious and deserves care.

This week’s parasha is the last portion in the book of Leviticus. At the end of the reading, it is traditional to rise and declare: chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek – be strong, be strong, and together we will strengthen each other.

For Reflection: What inspires you to behold the inherent value in every person?
Shavuot– Friday, May 29 – Saturday, May 30.

Ever since the second day of Passover, we have been preparing to receive Torah. Just 49 days after Passover, which this year falls on Friday, May 29, we will celebrate Shavuot. On this holiday, we commemorate receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. Join for a special Shavuot service on Friday morning, May 29 at 10:00 AM and Shabbat Shavuot service with Yizkor/Memorial service on Saturday morning, May 30 at 10:00 AM. In the meantime, we
continue in the period of the Omer, striving to improve our character so that we will be worth of receiving Torah.

Please join our Shabbat celebrations on Channel 1960:

Friday at 4:30 PM, followed by candle lighting, Kiddush, hand washing, and motzi.​

Saturday at 10:00 AM, followed by Kiddush, hand washing, and motzi

Shabbat candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo is 7:27 PM.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Karen Sherman