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5 aspects of this coming Shabbat


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. Tonight we "lost" one hour of sleep but gained an extra hour of light. Daylight saving time, or so-called summer time, has officially begun as the days get longer. I once heard a beautiful thought about moving our clocks ahead: We have added an extra hour of light to our lives; what will we do with it?

2. Mazal tov on starting a new book of the Torah. This week's Torah portion is Vayikra which opens the book of the same name. It's the third book of the Chumash and is also known as Leviticus, which follows the books of Genesis and Exodus.

3. This Torah portion, like the entire book of Leviticus, discusses the sacrificial service in the Mishkan or sanctuary, which served as the spiritual center of the people during their journey through the desert. The book of Leviticus is involved with concepts that are difficult for us to grasp today -- concepts such as kedushah (holiness), tumah (impurity), and taharah (purity) as they pertain to persons or objects and their suitability for holy activities or purposes.

4. ָAfter reading the weekly Torah portion in the synagogue, we read the haftarah. The words "Am Yisrael" (nation of Israel) are heard a lot in the news today. In this week's haftarah, the prophet Isaiah describes how God sees the nation of Israel: "This people I fashioned for myself; they shall recite my praise."

5. Yesterday (Thursday), the month of Nissan began, two weeks before Pesach and Seder night. These are days of intensive cleaning, organizing, and cooking, but even those who are most conscientious in their Pesach preparations must take time off one day a week when we all say: Shabbat shalom.


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