May 20-21, 2022 Parashat Behar
20 Iyyar 5782
Throughout our Torah readings, we understand that one of our tradition’s most important priorities is social justice; this week, the Torah reminds us that social justice applies not only to people but also to nature.
Leviticus 25:2-4 teaches that every seven years, the land must be left alone, unused and uncultivated. This is how the ancient Israelites protected the health of the land. And all (even wild animals) are entitled to whatever grows on its own during those sabbatical years. Leviticus is teaching us that in a just society, everyone must have access to food, especially in times of scarcity. Furthermore, every fiftieth year, the jubilee year, land returns to its original owners, and all slaves are set free. In ancient Israel’s agricultural economy, when crops failed in times of drought, the less fortunate had to sell their land in order to eat. The rich became richer and the poor became poorer. The Torah says “no” to this kind of injustice by starting over every 50 years.
Rabbi Mike Comins teaches that we Jews became a people during the time when we wandered in the desert. We learned to pull together and treat each other fairly. We learned not to hoard food, and we learned that justice – for people and for the land – was not an option.
For Reflection: In what ways can we ensure justice for the land in today’s society?
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Shavuot is coming!! Saturday night, June 4 – Monday, June 6
On Shavuot we celebrate the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. In ancient times, this was the day to bring offerings from the first fruits of the harvest and the first animals born to the flocks. The symbols of the holiday are the seven species of the Land of Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. Watch for more information on our service schedule and special community programming on Channel 1963.
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Please join our Shabbat celebrations in the Synagogue (masks required) or (in-apartment) 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 7:30 PM
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 8:31 PM
Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Sherman