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April 26, 1996 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-04-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Congregation B'nai Moshe presents its annual
Scholar- In- Residence Weekend

in memory of Rabbi Moses Lehrman 5"T
sponsored by the Deutsch Family Speakers Fund

Learn, Sins ,4) Celebrate !

May 10-11, 1996 ❖ 22 lyar 5756

-1 Highlights

Seek God To Repent,
Live By His Decree

Shabbat Achrei Mot-Kedoshim:
Leviticus 16:1 - 20:27; Amos 9:7-15.

RABBI RICHARD C. HERTZ SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

with guest
Scholar-In -

Fri., May 10 • 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Kabbalat Shabbat Service
and Dinner

Residence

Topic: Music & Jewish Liturgy

Rabbi Morton M. Leifman

Vice President of the Jewish
Theological Seminary and Dean
of the Cantors Institute - Seminary
College of Jewish Music

Sat., May 11 • 9:00 a.m. to noon
Shabbat Morning Service
Presentation to Cantor
Louis Klein

Topic: The Hazzan and America

Prepaid reservations required
for some sessions.
Reservations deadline is May 6!

. Sat., May 11 • 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Lunch & Learn

For additional information
and brochure

Call the synagogue at
(810) 788-0600.

oRnTi

Topic: Ashkenazim, Sephardim and
Yemenite Music

Sat., May 11 • 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Melaveh Malka

Topic: Yiddish & Hebrew Poetry

Followed by havdalah, desserts and
Israeli dancing.

vE

HONORING "lk

Rabbi A. Irving Schnipper

Celebrating His Retirement
from Congregation Beth Abraham Hillel Moses

Wednesday, June 19, 1996
6:30 p.m.

Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres followed by dinner.

Hosted by:
Congregation Beth Abraham Hillel Moses
5075 W. Maple Rd.
(810) 851-6880

Couvert: S 150 per person
Sponsors: S 500 per couple
Patrons: $1000 per couple
Founders: $1800 per couple

Please respond by June 1, 1996.

T

his week two sedrahs are
linked together. These are
two of the seven designat-
ed Torah portions that, de-
pending upon the number of
Sabbaths in a year and upon leap,
year, are either read as two sep-
arate portions or combined.
Achrei Mot refers to and recalls
the deaths of Nadav and Avihu,
the two sons of Aaron who had en-
tered the sanctuary bringing a
strange fire for the altar. Moses
tells Aaron that he alone is per-
mitted to enter the sanctuary, the
holy of holies, and must be dressed
with special linen garments. He
is to bring two he-goats, one
marked for God and the other for
Azazel, as the scapegoat for the
failings and the errors of the peo-
ple.
In a dramatic ceremony, the
goat marked for Azazel is brought
to Aaron; he places his hands upon
the goat, confesses the wrong do-
ings of the people and sends the
goat off into the wilderness. The
term scapegoat, originally coined
by William Tyndale in an early
English Bible translation from the
Hebrew, became a term used for
someone who would carry the
guilt of a community, someone
whom people blamed for their own
sins and misfortunes.
Taking a scapegoat from the
Temple and sending it off into the
wilderness became a very impor-
tant ceremony. By transferring
the sins of the people in this way,
ancient Jews believed they were
forcing the iniquities of the people
back on Azazel.
Since there was an element of
magic in this interpretation, it be-
came unacceptable, especially to
Moses Maimonidies who rejected
any identification of the scapegoat
with the power of angels over evil.
Maimonidies felt the ceremony
was an allegory meant to impress
the sinners that they could not-just
blame a goat for all their sins, but
that they should turn to God in
sincere repentance.
A medieval commentator be-
lieved that the two goats were to
remind Jews of the twin broth-
ers of Esau and Jacob. Esau was
identified with the goat marked
for Azazel; Esau also wandered
into the wilderness away from
his people. Jacob was symbol-
ized in the goat marked for God;

Dr. Richard C. Hertz is
distinguished professor of
Jewish studies at the
University of Detroit-Mercy.

he lived a life devoted to God's
service.
A modern rabbi reminds us
that the ancient ritual was not just
about scapegoats, but rather a
suggestion that our deeds and ac-
tions should be for God, that our
selfish pleasures and pride become
wasted in the wilderness.

Since Yom Kippur is the day of
repentance and making decisions
for a better life, somehow the sto-
ry of the goats and casting lots be-
came identified with the Day of
Atonement, calling for us to give
up our own pleasures for Azazel.
What we are willing to give up for
the welfare and security of others
brings our commitment to God.
The choices Jews make on Yom
Kippur indicate our deciding for
God or for Azazel.
The second sedrah, Kedoshim,
is known as the Holiness Code.
These verses contain the ethical
practices one must carry out to live
a sacred life. The sedrah contains
many of the precepts that are to
be carried out to make Jews a
kingdom of priests and a holy na-
tion through a life of holiness.
Jews are to fulfill the command-
ments of the Torah both ethically
and ritually.
The Torah brings people to ho-
liness by challenging them to
combine their moral and spiritu-
al obligations and to live by the
practices that will shape them
into becoming a kingdom of
priests and a holy nation. The
emphasis on moral duties stands
out in bold relief in this sedrah.
The whole chapter is organized
around a series of statements,
"Do not do this" or "You shall do
that," always concluding with the
formula, "Because I am the Lord
your God."

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