Monday, March 28, 2011

Jewish politics

Heard recently (off-blog) from one of my readers: Somewhere in a North American city, a Partnership Minyan, with the blessing of some local Orthodox rabbis, is meeting in, of all places, a Reform synagogue. (!) According to my informant, there was simply no room at any of the local Orthodox synagogues. But I told my informant that I thought there was actually an advantage to holding a Partnership Minyan in a non-Orthodox synagogue--since non-Orthodox synagogues are beyond the jurisdiction of either the Orthodox Union and/or the National Council of Young Israel, the local Orthodox synagogues and/or their rabbis could play innocent and be spared the usual public attacks, and the minyan could conduct its services in the manner approved by the consulted Orthodox rabbis without outside interference.

Here's a question for my readers: Are any of the Partnership Minyanim in North America affiliated, directly or indirectly, with the OU or YI, or do they all avoid such affiliations like the plague in order to be free to conduct their services in their chosen manner?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2 slaps in the face: 1 a cause, the other a cure

Years ago, we ran into a problem with an old friend--we invited her and her kid for dinner, and she complained, quite snootily, that our main course, French toast, was "breakfast food, not dinner food."

So the next time we invited her and her kid, we went out to a local restaurant. Unfortunately, we'd underestimated the cost, and, though we offered to cover the "excess," since she was on a tight budget at the time, she refused, and went home quite angry.

The next time we tried to get together, our old buddy put her foot down--she told us, in no uncertain times, that since she didn't care for my cooking, she would never come to our home again, and that, any time that we wanted to get together, we'd have to go to her home.

With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it occurs to me that it was probably after that last incident that I stopped inviting people to our home on a regular basis. Being insulted by my own guest was pretty rough on my ego.

And so it went for roughly the following 15 years--we became known as the people who brought chips and dips, and/or pita bread, baby carrots, and chummus, and/or dessert, and/or gave our hosts money to help defray the cost of meals.

That "work-around" came to a screeching halt just a few weeks ago, when another old friend of ours invited us to a pot-luck dinner. Much to our shock, and despite our protest that even the two of us together can barely boil water, our host adamantly insisted that what she needed from us was a main course big enough to feed 12 people.

It's a good thing that the other guests really scarfed up the food we'd brought in from a kosher restaurant that our host had recommended. It's an even better thing that our host had the tact not to ask how much our contribution to the dinner had cost. It would have been quite mortifying to have to admit that we'd probably paid at least three times the amount of money that any of the other guests had spent.

The bottom line is, well, the bottom line: I'm simply going to have to put past insult behind me and work on my cooking skills in order to avoid future financial injury, because once my husband retires, we simply won't be able to afford to sustain our social lives on take-out.

Parshat Shemini: You don't mess with Moses

  • "Proof" #1, from this morning's parsha: Nadav and Avihu bring fire that Moshe had not instructed them to bring, and end up dead.
  • "Proof" #2: Korach and company protest against Moshe's and his brother Aharon's "usurpation" of authority, and end up dead.
  • "Proof" #3: Miriam and Aharon complain about their brother Moshe's "starring" role and about his marriage to a Midianite, and Miriam ends up with (a form of) "leprosy" (that's cured in a week). (Of course, Aharon, the "Teflon" priest, goes unpunished, as always.)
Moshe may have been "the humblest of men," but his Protector had no compunctions about punishing alleged assaults on Moshe's dignity, and ensured Moshe's undisputed position as "top dog" until Moshe defied Him by striking the rock instead of speaking to it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mishloach Manot ambivalence: . . .

On being of two minds about two kinds of food.

Orthonomics says she's not a minimalist about mishloach manot.

I have mixed feelings.

Those of you who've been reading my blog for, well, at least a year know that I've always complained about us giving out a gazillion mishloach manot packages and getting almost none in return, as if the mitzvah (commandment) of giving mishloach manot applies only to us and not to the recipients.

This year, I decided to change my attitute, and to think of our mishloach manot distribution as an act of chesed (kindness). Most of the recipients are seniors on fixed incomes who get a kick out of our "gift." Okay, so we made about 22 packages and got only three in return. I guess I'll live.

But there's a downside to our relative generosity--it puts the other givers in a bind.

There are rarely more than two other congregants who give out mishloach manot, and both of them complained this year that people expect it. They resent the fact that some people actually delay going home after the megillah reading in the hope of being given mishloach manot packages despite the fact that they never reciprocate. They complain, and rightly so, that the choice of persons to whom to give mishloach manot should be the giver's alone.

We have only ourselves to blame, since, to the best of my recollection, we were the first congregants to give out mishloach manot at our local synagogue. Perhaps, if we'd made it a point to give out only about half a dozen packages instead of over 20, people wouldn't have come to take it for granted and consider themselves entitled. Since this was my apparently-not-so-brilliant idea, I'll remember to keep our distribution more limited once we move and join a new synagogue.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Passive reading doesn't keep me awake . . .

. . . and other Pesach tales (posted Friday, April 22, 2011).

I was the only person working in this office on Erev Pesach/Passover Eve ('til we were kicked out for the holiday), and have been alone here for the two weekdays of Chol HaMoed (Immediate Days, when one is permitted to work, of Pilgrimage Festivals). So I got daring and decided to read a book openly at my desk. (My usual practice is to surf the Internet between assignments, because reading a book at work has gotten me into trouble with previous bosses.) Though I made a good-faith effort to finish the essays at the back of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks's Haggadah--which, judging by the tissue I found stuck in the book, I must have started last year--I was out of luck. Rabbi Sacks is a very fine writer, but, with the entire floor as quiet as a tomb, I found that I had to get back on the Internet, where the constant need to click was the only thing keeping me from falling asleep at my desk.

Those looking for a post-Seder round-up might find the report of DovBear and commenters interesting reading. As for us, we're apparently still among the not-yet-ready-for-Ortho-time players--we went to two non-Orthodox sedarim (both of which started earlier than halachically permissible) and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Well, okay, my husband and I disagreed about the second seder. I complained that, much as I'd enjoyed the seder, I was still not happy that the rabbi had skipped almost as much of the Haggadah as she'd read or led, and I suggested that, next year, we try the Orthodox seder that I'd originally wanted to attend. My husband protested that he was less concerned about the second seder being a standing-on-one-foot version than about being at yet another seder with no children. (Our first host, for the past couple of years and probably next year as well, is single and childless.) Stayed tuned for next year.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Relying on the kindness of strangers

I can't find the post, which probably goes back at least a year, but I once complained that our local synagogue, whose sukkah space is located under an openable skylight in the lobby, made it logistically impossible for us to eat in their sukkah whenever they rented out the sanctuary and lobby during Sukkot. I was quite surprised by the response, though I suppose that I should not have been--a commenter politely reminded me that, since the mitzvah (commandment) of eating in a sukkah during Sukkot is an individual, not a communal, mitzvah, responsibility for finding a sukkah in which to eat devolves upon the individual, and, therefore, a synagogue is under no obligation to provide a sukkah for daily use.

I mention this now because the events, past and soon to come, of the last year or so have reminded me of my personal responsibility for observing mitzvot, and the challenges sometimes involved. Last year, we carefully called some old friends a month before Purim and invited them to join us for a Seudat Purim (Purim feast) to ensure that we'd actually have a Seudat Purim. Yet, due to health problems and last-minute scheduling conflicts--one can't exactly "reschedule" a shiva call--all of them had to cancel just days before Purim. This year, we were invited to join the same crew, but health problems resulted in another cancellation only about an hour and a half before I was supposed to leave for the two-subways, one-bus trip. Purim 2012 won't be any better--we expect one of the would-be Seudat Purim participants to go for yet another round of surgery next spring. And adding, well, (her) "injury" to (our having been) "insult(ed)," as it were, our seder hostess of roughly 20 years is currently recuperating from surgery and going elsewhere for both sedarim, leaving us in the lurch for one seder.

All of these folks are people whom we've known for more than 25 years. Yet our ability to rely on them to help us fulfil mitzvot seems destined to become a thing of the past.

So what's going to happen to us when we move? If we move in the summer of 2012, as currently planned, and if we're really serious about not traveling on Shabbat (Sabbath) or Yom Tov (major holidays) anymore after we move, we'll have less than a year to make friends who live within walking distance and who are sufficiently fond of us to accept our invitation to a seder or to invite us. It's a daunting prospect, and not just the making-friends part--if we can't rely on old friends, how do we know that we'll have much better luck with new ones?

A Light Unto The Nations

As was the case after the disaster in Haiti, Israel is the first to have established a field hospital in Japan. (Hat-tip: Aussie Dave, here.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Purim party in print, er, ether

Here are some links and thoughts that I hope you'll find interesting.

RivkaYael recommended this article by Adele Berlin about Megillat Esther. I second her recommendation.

I received a link to this discussion by Rabbi Ethan Tucker concerning why it's important to read the gantze megillah (literally, the entire scroll).

Here's a question that's always bothered me: Why did Mordechai refuse to bow to Haman? I find it most interesting that Megillat Esther itself gives no reason whatsoever, though I'm sure the rabbis perceived plenty of reasons. Did it never occur to Mordechai that his behavior might put him and/or his loved ones in danger, and/or was this just the way that the game of politics and power was played in ancient Persia?

2:53 PM update: I just found out via e-mail that our Seudat Purim has been canceled. This is the second year in the row that the same two couples have finked out on us at the last minute. Frankly, after last year's experience, we would happily have made other plans, were it not for the unfortunate fact that my husband has an accounting class to teach every Sunday afternoon until 4 PM this semester. For lack of an alternative, we're meeting after his class and going to the nearest kosher restaurant for a Seudah with just the two of us. Not exactly what we had in mind. Oh, well.

A plethora of Purim posts (by DovBear)

Friday, March 18, 2011

I guess I'm a glutton for punishment :(

I can't tell you how many times I've posted a comment on Torah Musings/Hirhurim (at both the old site and the current one) and been politely ignored. I don't know why I bother. :(

For the record, I wasn't kidding when I said that I think an Orthodox feminist has to choose her synagogue and community very carefully. I hope never to be a member of Torah Musings guest poster Rabbi R. Shaul Gold's synagogue. Lincoln Square or Ahavas Achim would be more my speed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

IDF, settlers save Palestinian baby

This wonderful story has been linked all over the Jewish blogosphere. Go and read. It'll take your mind off your fast.

Gender discrimination at the Cohanic dinner table?

Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to post about Leviticus, but . . .

[ ¶ ]

In his comment to my Parshat Vayikra post (linked above), Reform Baal Teshuvah said, “ . . . your animal becomes food for him [the Cohen/priest] and his family.” Given what I’ve read in Parshat Tzav, that’s debatable.

[ ¶ ]

Parshat Tzav, Leviticus 6.1–8:36

[ ¶ ]

Concerning the meal offering:

[ ¶ ]

יא כָּל-זָכָר בִּבְנֵי אַהֲרֹן, יֹאכְלֶנָּה--חָק-עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם, מֵאִשֵּׁי יְהוָה; כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-יִגַּע בָּהֶם, יִקְדָּשׁ. {פ}

11 Every male among the children of Aaron may eat of it, as a due for ever throughout your generations, from the offerings of the LORD made by fire; whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. {P}

[ ¶ ]

Concerning the sin offering, see verse 22:

[ ¶ ]

כב כָּל-זָכָר בַּכֹּהֲנִים, יֹאכַל אֹתָהּ; קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים, הִוא.

22 Every male among the priests may eat thereof; it is most holy.

[ ¶ ]

Concerning the guilt offering, see chapter 7, verse 6:

[ ¶ ]

ו כָּל-זָכָר בַּכֹּהֲנִים, יֹאכְלֶנּוּ; בְּמָקוֹם קָדוֹשׁ יֵאָכֵל, קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים הוּא.

6 Every male among the priests may eat thereof; it shall be eaten in a holy place; it is most holy.

[ ¶ ]

Chapter 7, verse 34:

[ ¶ ]

לד כִּי אֶת-חֲזֵה הַתְּנוּפָה וְאֵת שׁוֹק הַתְּרוּמָה, לָקַחְתִּי מֵאֵת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִזִּבְחֵי, שַׁלְמֵיהֶם; וָאֶתֵּן אֹתָם לְאַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן וּלְבָנָיו, לְחָק-עוֹלָם, מֵאֵת, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.

34 For the breast of waving and the thigh of heaving have I taken of the children of Israel out of their sacrifices of peace-offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons as a due for ever from the children of Israel.

[ ¶ ]

I’ve heard of cultures in which male children are better fed than female children. It just hadn’t registered with me before that, in Temple times, the same was true of us Jews, at least in the families of Cohanim serving in the Temple. I wonder what the ancient rabbis/sages had to say about this.

A classic conflict of cultures :)

Yad of the Irish
Good luck trying to lein Torah with that one! :)
Shira's Shot, March 1, 2011

For those of us who'll be observing Taanit Esther instead of celebrating St. Patrick's Day, I wish you an easy fast.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grand Central Station in the sun

What this blog needs is less politics and more pictures. :)

Here's my view of the Main Hall from the top of the original (west?) staircase.

I looked back at the top of the staircase to get a closer view of the windows.

Detail from the original (west?) staircase

Detail from the alleged copy (east?) staircase, or they don't make 'em the way they used to

The hanging gardens of Grand Central

Hanging gardens, blue view
This is a daylight shot--at night, there's no light coming through these skylights, and they look pitch-black instead of blue.

Shira's Shots, Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Many thanks to our son for for helping us choose our new Canon PowerShot S95 camera. One of these days, I'll have to put it to the test by taking photos of Grand Central after sundown. Almost all of the post-sundown shots of Grand Central that I took with our old camera came out too dark to post. The old-camera photos in these posts made the cut because they're both daylight shots.


Yet another farce at the UN :(

Monday, March 14, 2011

Death and destruction

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Singing for their supper in the subway

Friday, March 11, 2011

Parshat Vayikra

See here.

Not here.

This blog is a korbanot-free zone.

I've never been a great fan of korbanot (sacrifices, or texts about them). Yes, I'm a meat-eater. But while it doesn't make any difference to an animal why I'm having it killed, it makes a difference to me, because I object on principle to vicarious atonement--why should some animal have to be slaughtered just because I committed a sin?

Besides, in this instance, I'd rather not put my money where my mouth is.

I think it would be delightful if the Beit HaMikdash/Holy Temple were rebuilt as a kind of Central Synagogue of the Jewish People. But I'd rather see our money go toward Jewish education, caring for the poor, and other worthy causes, than wasted on sacrificial animals and the staffing and maintenance of a giant slaughterhouse.

So I won't be writing very much about Sefer Vayikra/The Book of Leviticus.

Milk, meat, and the building of the Mishkan?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My denominational fence-sitting, explained on 1 ft.

Here's the Hillel (standing-on-one-foot) version, from my comment to this post on Ezzie's blog regarding the possible demise of Conservative Judaism:

Shira Salamone said...

"I think she'd say that it's liberal in its practice (especially as compared to Orthodoxy) but not necessarily in its beliefs."

Despite (?) being a life-long Conservative Jew, I'm liberal in my beliefs (especially as compared to Orthodoxy) but not necessarily in my practice. No wonder I'm a denominational misfit!

3/10/2011 05:23:00 PM

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

An interesting evening at Drisha

I spent Tuesday evening at Drisha reading and discussing the Torah's text of the story of Esau/Esav. Unfortunately, Yeshivat Maharat student Ruth Balinsky's class, "The Making of the Evil Twin: The Evolution of Esau" is probably going to be canceled even before we have an opportunity to delve into the rabbinic texts, due to insufficient enrollment--I was one of only two students. But being one of only two students did give me an opportunity to run my mouth, which, as you can see from my blog, is a favorite pass-time of mine. :) And I was pleasantly surprised to hear myself bringing in references from the announcement of Yitzchak's/Isaac's future conception, the banishment of Yishmael/Ishmael, the purchase of Kever HaMachpelah (the cave in which the the Patriarchs and three of the Matriarchs are buried), Megillat Esther (the Scroll [Book] of Esther), and midrash (rabbinic interpretative stories). Sometimes you don't know how much you know. :)

A CNN link that's worth a look

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Creating 1 problem while trying to "solve" another?

A former rabbi of ours--I can't remember which one--had a theory that the Conservative Movement, in an attempt to encourage observance, brought into the synagogue many practices that are traditionally observed in the home. The "congregational seder" is probably the best example--to the best of my knowledge, sedarim were always observed in the home (barring wartime, unavoidable travel, or other emergency) until roughly the middle of the twentieth century. Yes, there is precedent for this--the kiddush on Shabbat (Sabbath) and Yom Tov (holiday) evenings has been chanted in the synagogue as well as in the home for centuries. But there are more downsides to making home-based rituals communal than just the small fortune that some folks pay to go away to a hotel for sedarim (and the rest of Pesach). What happens when an attempt to encourage observance of one mitzvah (commandment) interferes with another mitzvah?

Those of you who've been reading my blog in recent months are aware that my local synagogue has been holding Minchah (Afternoon Service) on Shabbat right after kiddush in an attempt to get a minyan so that we can have a Torah reading and a chazarat ha-ShaTz (repetition of the Amidah prayer aloud with certain prayers added that one is not permitted to say without a minyan). It finally dawned on me last week that a practice that's reasonably common in Conservative synagogues but, I've been told, practically unheard of in Orthodox synagogues--having motzi (the prayer praised HaShem for bread) with our kiddush--may have caused our shul to put two mitzvot at odds.* After all, we always make a motzi with kiddush in our shul, but, unless there's a sponsored kiddush, we don't necessarily follow it with anything resembling a meal. So we're starting our meal in shul, but finishing it at home (which, for all I know, may also be a halachic problem)--but we're now interrupting our Shabbat lunch, not having recited Birkat HaMazon (Grace after Meals), to daven (pray) Minchah! Then we go home and finish our lunch. Is one allowed to daven a service in the middle of a meal?

*In the Orthodox community, it's assumed that one is going to make a motzi at home, before eating lunch. I'm assuming that the original reason why Conservative Jews very often make a motzi in synagogue after kiddush is to ensure that we actually make a motzi.

A young lady living in the wrong community :(

Talia's tale of being excluded from her own grandmother's unveiling made me both angry and sad. I hope that, when old enough to move, she's able to relocate to a community that doesn't think that women should be neither seen nor heard. Fortunately, there are plenty of communities that are more open-minded on the subject of women's participation in public ritual. Speaking as an outsider, it seems to me that the secret to being an Orthodox feminist is to choose one's congregation and community carefully.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Growing pains, so to speak

After roughly 30 years with roughly the same short "pixie" haircut, I decided to try a different look with slightly longer hair. The "growing-it-out" phase is a minor annoyance, as I often look like something the cat dragged in. And I'm a bit discouraged because of the news I got from my haircutter this past Sunday--since my hair is currently cut in layers, it'll be another six-eight months before the hair on the sides grows out to be all the same length. So I won't look presentable until roughly the High Holidays. Sigh. I guess my Purim costume will be "Something the Cat Dragged In." :)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Baal tefillah vs. baal koreh

For the life of me, I couldn't remember the circumstances that inspired me to write my Praying on autopilot post--I couldn't think of any time when a baal tefillah (prayer leader) in our local synagogue would be facing the congregation and reciting a prayer in which he would visibly fail to close his mouth to make a properly-pronounced mem sofit. Then there was yesterday. And the prayer in question was Birkat HaChodesh/Blessing of the New Month. Three times in the course of that prayer, the baal tefillah failed to close his mouth to make a properly-pronounced mem sofit.


So I mentioned to him that he pronounced Hebrew much better when he was leining than when he was leading.

Later, I realized that there's actually a logical explanation. A leiner's/baalat(at) koreh's (Torah reader's) reading is strictly controlled. First of all, s/he must chant in accordance with the trup/trope/cantillation accepted by her/his particular community (Ashkenazi, Sefardi, Yemenite, etc.). Second, any mistake in pronunciation will (or should be) corrected by a gabbai, or whatever the Torah-reader's assistant is called in that particular community. If a gabbai misses an error, the rabbi and/or cantor may very well chime in with the correction. In some synagogues, even a congregant or two might get in on the act--a baal koreh in our own shul might occasionally be corrected by one of our Israeli-American members calling out a correction from the back of the sanctuary!

A baal(at) tefillah, on the other hand, has a choice of standard nusach (traditional tunes that anyone who can read Hebrew and sing on key can lead), chazanut (traditional tunes more suited to those with vocal training), and/or more contemporary music (such as Shlomo Carlebach's or Debbie Friedman's Jewish religious music, or borrowed secular melodies). So he or she might make the, to me, egregious error of paying more attention to the music than to the words. And, depending on the synagogue, a baal(at) tefillah who has made an error might not be stopped, or criticized later.

By way of illustration, let me borrow this comment of mine from my Learning from the inside out post:

"Years ago, when we lived in Manhattan, we belonged to a dual-affiliated Conservative/Reconstructionist synagogue that observed the Shalosh Regalim/Pilgrimage Festivals in accordance with Israeli minhag/custom, not holding services on the second or "last" day. So we used to go "shul-hopping" on "shenis and acharons" (second and "last" days) to more traditional Conservative or Orthodox synagogues. On one such occasion, the cantor of one such traditional Conservative synagogue was giving quite a show. His hands were holding his carefully-folded tallit as if he were an opera singer and the tallit were a prop. But there was something else really bothering me about his "performance," and I couldn't figure out what it was--until the show-off accidentally substituted Shabbat [Sabbath] words where Festival words should have been, and I suddenly realized that he was looking straight ahead at the "audience" and wasn't looking down at his machzor (holiday prayer book) at all! I didn't set foot in that shul again until they got a new chazan/cantor.
Wed Mar 02, 01:23:00 PM 2011

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The great divide

See the comments

Friday, March 04, 2011

Reminder: Special Shabbatot begin tomorrow

Tomorrow is the first of the special Shabbatot (Sabbaths) leading up to Pesach (Passover): Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor, Shabbat Parah, Shabbat HaChodesh, and Shabbat HaGadol. Several years ago, I devised a mnemonic device (aide-memoire/memory aid) so that I wouldn't forget the proper order of these Shabbatot, and maybe it'll help you, too: Anachnu notnim Shekalim liZkor et Parah haAdumah baChodesh HaGadol. Rough translation: We give Shekalim to Remember the Red Cow in the Month of Greatness.

All of these Shabbatot have a special maftir reading from a second sefer Torah/Torah (Pentateuch scroll) and a special haftarah, except for Shabbat HaGadol, which has a special haftarah, but no special maftir and no second scroll.

In like fashion, Shabbat Shuvah (Sabbath of Return [Repentance]), the Shabbat between Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement, has a special haftarah, but no special maftir and no second scroll.

Friday, March 2, 2012 update:
You can read the special pre-Pesach Maftir readings in English here.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Parshat Pekudei, er, P'kudei, Pekuday . . .

. . . "Pekudei, Pekude, Pekudey, P’kude, or P’qude," per Wikipedia. For Pikudei, you can take your pick. :)

The parsha begins here and continues through chapter 40, verse 38, bringing us to the end of Exodus/Sh'mot. And it's yet another one of those "vocabulary parshiot." So I might just as well take the opportunity to learn some new vocabulary.

כג וְאִתּוֹ, אָהֳלִיאָב בֶּן-אֲחִיסָמָךְ לְמַטֵּה-דָן--חָרָשׁ וְחֹשֵׁב; וְרֹקֵם, בַּתְּכֵלֶת וּבָאַרְגָּמָן, וּבְתוֹלַעַת הַשָּׁנִי, וּבַשֵּׁשׁ. {ס}

23 And with him was Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, a craftsman, and a skilful workman, and a weaver in colours, in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen.-- {S}

Finally, I get all--well, most--of those words in the same sentence, so maybe now I can remember which one means what!

  • charash = craftsman
  • chosheiv = skilled workman
  • rokeim =weaver
And, from previous parshiot

  • rokeiach = perfumer

(Wild guess on the grammar, if the party is female:

  • chareshet
  • choshevet
  • rokemet
  • rokeichah.

Please provide corrections, if necessary!)

More goodies to add to the collection this year: yitdot = pins; masach = screen; veiv = hook; k'laim = hangings (made of cloth).

Here's the good part, courtesy of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, in his The Home We Build Together: The reason for all these boring "vocabulary parshiot" is that the newly-liberated Hebrews needed a group project to unite them. This makes sense, in light of the Golden-Calf incident, which proved that this disparate band could be united if they had a common project to which each individual could contribute--what we needed was a group project that would serve HaShem. So HaShem gave us one, commanding us to build the Mishkan.


From Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:

"Pekudei has sometimes been called the accountant’s parsha, because that is how it begins, with the audited accounts of the money and materials donated to the Sanctuary. It is the Torah’s way of teaching us the need for financial transparency."

Read the rest here.

(More links later, if I have time.)

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