Friday, 17 April 2020
Now that we have finished the week of Unleavened Bread and are counting our way though the Days of the Omer - you are counting, right? - we are back to the usual weekly portions from the Torah.
This week's parasha is called Sh'mini and starts by telling us what happened on the eighth day, after the seven days spent inaugurating the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Sometimes, we feel like that at the end of a special time or event - a sort of anti-climax - what do we do now? In this case, on the eighth day, Moshe inaugurated Aharon as the High Priest and handed all the ceremony and ritual of the Tabernacle over to him and his sons (who had also been set in and anointed as priests). It would be their job to bring the daily morning and evening offerings, plus all the extras for shabbat and the feasts, every day, for ever!
At the completion of the ordination ceremony, the Torah tells us that, "Fire came forth from the presence of Adonai, consuming the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, then shouted and fell on their faces" (Shemot 9:24, CJB).
This weekend, we are all still in lockdown and can't attend our usual Shabbat service; we can't meet with our friends and fellow congregants to worship the L-rd together. We can't feel the presence of the L-rd together and shout for joy before Him. But we can still join in with a shabbat service - many of our congregations are live-streaming their services. It is important, as the Hebrews writer tells us, "to spur each other on to love and good deeds, not neglecting our own congregational meetings , as some have made a practice of doing, but, rather, encouraging each other" (Hebrews 10:23-24, CJB).
Do try and find a service that you can attend, even if remotely and as something of a spectator, so that you can stay connected with your congregation and the wider Tikkun network.