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It's On The Calendar! -- Chronicle Online/The WORD 05/4/23

Weekly On-line Rabbi's D'var-Torah

May 4, 2023

13 Iyar 5783

Parashat Emor

For most of us today, the only kind of calendar that we use looks like this: However, long before our calendars went digital, the Torah provided us with the basics of our Jewish calendar. Most of the holidays which we follow to this day can be found in this week’s Torah portion– Shabbat, Passover, the Omer period, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret. However the Biblical calendar is largely based on an earlier calendar, which looks like this: The Gezer calendar was discovered about 20 miles from Jerusalem and dates back to the 10th Century BCE. It describes a calendar based on the farming cycle of the Land of Israel including the spring barley harvest, the summer grain harvest and the fall fruit harvest. In the Torah, we know them better as Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. Each of those festivals is rooted in the agricultural rhythm of the Land of Israel. But, then there’s a second layer. Each of those holidays also has a historic component as well. Passover, of course, is linked to the Exodus from Egypt. On Shavuot, we celebrate the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. And Sukkot reminds of the temporary dwellings constructed by the Israelites during the years of wandering in the wilderness. On the one hand, we are celebrating food, nature and community. On the other hand, we are celebrating our shared stories and experiences. The holidays have something for everyone if we are willing to look a little deeper. It’s not so different from the modern synagogue. Part of the synagogue experience is preserving our tradition and telling the stories of our people. Just as important, though, is the way that the synagogue brings us together socially around food and social experiences. Our synagogue has something for everyone if we’re willing to look a little deeper. Just check out our calendar! Shalom, RAF.

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