Torah Commentary

Torah Commentary

Drawing Too Close?

Often, we are unaware of and surprised by social norms - the "dos and don'ts." We simply conform, but it can be meaningful to reflect on these practices and potentially innovate with care. Aaron's sons, Nadav and Avihu, learn this lesson the hard way in Parashat Sh'mini.

Reimagining Reform Kashrut through Sh’mini

Sh'mini offers us an opportunity to use discernment. Informed choices are the bedrock of our movement. It's a sacred task to study Torah while respecting its historicity. Can you find relevancy in these ancient words and connect them to our modern lives? This is our holy struggle - and struggling with God is very Jewish.

Explaining the Inexplicable with Silence

On the eighth day after the commencement of the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests, Moses summons his brother and nephews to complete the ritual. Aaron is to present various offerings, after which Moses tells him, “Adonai will appear to you” (Lev. 9:4).

What Is the Body Language of Prayer?

As a teenager, I had the unique experience of participating in a joint Reform/Orthodox retreat up at OSRUI, our URJ camp in Wisconsin. I remember walking over to the Orthodox service after the Reform service had ended and seeing one of the participants standing in front of the congregation, barefoot, with a tallit over his head and his hands spread wide. I learned that I had seen a ritual sometimes called Birkat Kohanim (the Priestly Benediction or Priestly Blessing). ...The origins of this ritual come from this week's portion, Sh'mini.