Purim at Or Chadash, in Flemington, N.J., includes many of the usual traditions: putting on a Purim spiel (play), using boxes of pasta as gragers, baking hamantaschen with our students, reading the Megillah, and hosting a spectacular carnival that features Esther’s Salon, Mordecai’s March Madness, a photo booth, and plenty of prizes and food.
Our encounter with the offerings made in the Tabernacle is interrupted on the Shabbat of April 4th by a description of the Exodus that we celebrate on this day, the first day of Pesach.
My Uncle Max, of blessed memory, used to put a few coins into the pushke of a little yeshivah in Jerusalem every time its representatives would come to America, knocking on doors.
Parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-7:37) continues the instructions to Aaron and his sons concerning different types of sacrifice. We hear of the olah, burnt offering; the minchah, meal offering; and the chatat, sin offering.
As we complete each book of the Torah, it is customary to repeat the words "Chazak, chazak, v'nitchazeik." These words, understood as "Congratulations!" actually have a more profound message.
"That land there", he points,
"That was Jesse's."
We look and I consider
the bramble imprisoned by razor wire
and the story:
a day of hard words over cotton prices
followed by a night
filled with the sound of slaughtered pigs