This week’s double portion is a complex recitation of ritual purity laws and practices and the role of the Kohanim. The challenge is to find the relevance of this in our lives today. Some people find that to be a major challenge. That is unfortunate. Every day in our prayers we thank God for our body and soul and we acknowledge that the soul that God has given to each one is pure. Neshamah shenatata be, tahora he. “The soul that You placed in me is pure,” we daven. Siddur Sim Shalom, page 8-9. What can each of us do or avoid doing to keep our souls as pure and unsullied as possible? Our Rabbis and teachings are instructive in terms of the impact and implications of our thoughts, words and deeds on our purity and, indeed on our mental and physical health. How do we govern our lives? Are we mindful of the effect of our actions on our souls? This is just another example of why it is common practice at this time of the year to study the Pirke Avot, our signature book of ethical principles and guidelines.
This Shabbat, Rabbi Aaron Bergman will I will give a very brief overview of the Torah portion itself, but I am going to focus on the first chapter of Pirke Avot. He will discuss it as a response to Leviticus, particularly how to create a holy community without the hierarchy of the priesthood. 10:00 a.m. at Adat Shalom. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like. It is a great sense of belonging.