TETZAVEH

TETZAVEH

A ST. JOHN’S WOOD CHEVRA KADDISHA Four years ago, at the height of the covid pandemic, the United Synagogue Burial Society was experiencing a very high volume of burials. At one point, the situation seemed so serious that we were worried we would not have enough tachrichin or shrouds for burials. Fortunately, we were able to procure them from another source and every person was prepared for burial in the correct manner. The shrouds we use for burial bear more than a passing resemblance to the white garments of the kohanim who served in the Temple or Tabernacle. Our current...

TERUMAH

TERUMAH

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS The Torah Reading from now till the end of Shemot, deals with the Mishkan or Tabernacle. Let’s make a tour of its essential features. a) Outer Courtyard – Visualise a large open space 100 x 50 cubits (60m x 30m), enclosed by pillars, to which curtains are attached. You enter the Courtyard from the east. Ahead of you is the Altar for Sacrifices. Beyond that is the copper basin for the Kohanim to wash their hands and feet. b) Tent of Meeting – Moving further west, we come to the Tent of Meeting or covered Tabernacle. Ten cubits...

MISHPATIM

MISHPATIM

FROM ADVERSITY TO OPPORTUNITY Listen out for the extra section in the Prayer for the King this Shabbat wishing His Majesty well. We pray that King Charles has a Refua Shlema, a speedy recovery from his cancer diagnosis. The King’s openness about his condition has heightened discussion about provision for cancer care in general in this country. His situation had added poignancy as this past week, on the 6th February, it was the anniversary of the death of his grandfather, George VI, who succumbed to lung cancer. King George had been an inveterate smoker – as many were in those...

YITRO

YITRO

JETHRO’S JOURNEYS Jethro made the long trek from Midian to the Sinai desert, to join his son-in-law and the people of Israel. Not only did he undertake a hard physical journey but a spiritual one too. At the beginning of the parasha we read about: “Jethro, the Priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moses.” Subsequently, he is simply called “the father-in-law of Moses.” His title, “Priest of Midian,” has been dropped. From this point on, in the bible, Jethro is never referred to as “the Priest of Midian” again. Jethro enjoyed a very important position as leader of a pagan...

BESHALLACH

BESHALLACH

THE MEANING OF THE LEANING Fast forward 12 weeks from now to Seder night and the youngest child has made it to the last verse of Ma Nishtana: “On all other nights, we eat sitting or leaning, on this night, kulanu mesubin – we all lean” Eating sitting up or leaning – none of us do that – grab a sandwich on the run, maybe sit down to eat once a day – but leaning? Most sources link it to the practice of Roman noblemen and women in Talmudic times, who would recline on couches to eat their meals. On...