Emor Lev. 21:1-24:23
Candle Lighting Time 7:44 p.m.
In this week’s Torah portion we are commanded not to profane God’s name. “You shall not profane My holy name (Chillul Hashem), that I may be sanctified in the midst of the Israelite people (Kiddush Hashem). I would like to share with you a selection from Donniel Hartman’s book Putting God Second that will elucidate what these two terms mean.
He writes that every sin a person commits is ultimately atonable with one exception, Chillul Hashem. For the sin of Chillul Hashem, the profaning God’s name, atonement can only be achieved through death. (BT Yoma 89a)
“If Jewish tradition considers this to be the most heinous form of human deviance, we benefit from paying close attention to how it is defined. What constitutes the desecration or profanation of God’s name? The Talmud offers an extremely surprising response: “Rav said: ‘If, for example, I [that is, someone like me, a rabbi] take meat from the butcher, and do not pay him at once.’” According to this definition, God’s name is desecrated when a rabbi is perceived to be using his status to create a financial advantage for himself – in this case, using the butcher’s possible inhibition to ask for payment to curry special treatment…
“The God who seeks a good name, who yearns to be known, loved, respected, and worshiped, places the power for both sanctification and desecration of the Divine Name in the hands of those from whom God seeks affirmation. The commandment to sanctify God’s name, and to avoid its desecration, requires that the religious person not think about what he or she believes God may want but rather about what people want; to ask, in other words, what ordinary individuals respect about and consequently expect from God. Thus, the most theocentric of commandments is reshaped through the insight of Rav into the most anthropocentric of commandments, one in which a God centered consciousness requires a shift to a human-centered consciousness by virtue of God’s own stated priority; which is precisely to claim the recognition that comes from a good name.
“What endangers disrespect in the eyes or ordinary people? Rav argues that the most significant factor is how one treats others and uses religion either to motivate or to excuse oneself from common decent behavior. People value moral decency and dismiss dishonesty. Consequently, God’s name and reputation are intimately connected to the level of moral decency of those who are perceived to be God’s representatives or followers. What follows is a true passion for sanctifying God’s name that cannot remove us from the ethical but rather must move us toward it, keeping our vision trained with ever more focus on our relationship with, and treatment of, others – for this is what ultimately exerts the most impact upon people’s sense of God.” 83-84
Save the Date
May 25th Sisterhood Mahjong Card Party
May 30th Erev Shavuot 6:00 p.m. Screening the documentary "A Yiddish World Remembered" The movie is free. 7:00 p.m. Shavuot Services 7:30 A 3 course dairy dinner in honor of Shavuot. Dinner is only $20.00 per person. Hebrew School age children free with a parent or guardian. RSVP by May 18th. Join for all or part of the celebration.
May 31st Our annual outdoor Shavuot renewal service at 10:00 a.m.
June 1st Shavuot services begin at 9:30 a.m. with yizkor around 11:00 a.m.
June 4th Celebrate Israel Parade: $18.00 includes round trip bus, commemorative T-shirt, a light snack and bottled water. For those who are unable to attend a donation of $18 or more will get you a t-shirt.
Finally I left for my Israel bike ride supporting special needs campers at Camp Ramah on May 3rd. It’s not too late to support me.
If you haven't yet and need just one more reminder, now is the time help in this important cause. All you have to do is either follow this secure link:
or send in a check made out to the National Ramah Commission with a notation that you are supporting my ride. Mail it to the National Ramah Commission, 3080 Broadway, NY, NY 10027.
If you have already made a donation, I am most thankful.
I plan to blog about my ride as often as possible. If you wish to follow me adventures, you may do so at rabbigarygreene.blogspot.com