Parashat Achare-mot Kdoshim

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.“

It’s that time of year, friends; time to deal with this pasuk.

This week’s double parasha can be found in Vayikra 16;1-20;27, and covers a whole lot of mitzvot. Considering one of these is “neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbour” (19;16), I feel compelled to write about this topic that has literally been killing people throughout the ages of Judaism.

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Shout out to my diaspora jews dealing w microaggressions every day and not knowing quite what to say

Shout out to my assimilated Jewish brothers and sisters who get asked questions that they have no idea how to answer bc they didn’t grow up in a Jewish community

Shout out to all my diaspora jews that have to deal w antisemitism that is masked as anti Zionism

I love you and you’re all great. You don’t have to educate anyone if you don’t want to. You don’t have to answer to anyone, or explain who you are or your identity to anyone unless you want to.

HUNDREDS OF REASONS NOT TO BE RELIGIOUS #214

The First Commandment establishes the relationship between God and man as an abusive, jealous, and threatening relationship. God is obviously very insecure, and needs constant worship. God is similar to a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend who can not stand the possibility
of their partner looking at others. He needs constant reassurance, as many mentally unstable people do, and as we will see, His jealousy will lead to violence.

Being one entity and still unique

As we all know we are currently in the mourning period for the loss of Rabbi Akiva’s 24.000 talmidim who died because they didn’t show “kovod” (respect) to each other. The question that every year comes up is “how could these big tzadkim -talmidim of the Rabbi Akiva himself- not show respect to each other? They were such big Talmidei Chachomim, how could they have such a big flaw of character?" 

The Shem M'Shmuel answers this question by saying that a person’s hands don’t show kovod to the feet for moving the hand/body around, similarly the feet don’t show kovod to the hand for holding/grasping. Kovod comes from the recognition of "being different”. Rabbi Akiva’s talmidim were so much into their achdus and the whole idea of Klal Yisroel being one whole entity that they forgot about the whole thing of “being different”. Achdus is a very good thing, and I wish that today we would only have it more, but this unity should never make us lose sight of each and every Jew’s individual worth and uniqueness. 

In the Torah when we are commanded to count the Omer it says “וספרתם לכם”- meaning that Sefiras Ha'Omer (counting the sefira) is for each individual, while counting shmita for example is an obligation for Klal Yisroel as one body carried out by the Beis Din. 

The Shem m'Shmuel also brings from the gemorah in Kiddushin (38) that the 33rd of the Omer (Lag B'Omer) is three days after the man (מן) started to fall. Three times is what Chazal call a “chazakah” [something that’s “established”]. Until the Man fell we were eating the food that we’d brought from Mitzrayim- food tainted with the taste of slavery. Lag B'Omer is the day of the start of our true freedom and break from the past.

If we take a look at Sefer Shemos we’ll see it opens with a lot of names of individuals until we reach at the new Paro. The new Paro suddenly refers not to individual names but only to “עם בני ישראל” -forgetting Yosef, forgetting the relationship with the individual. This is what Mitzrayim was all about and what slavery all depends on: on the depersonalization of the individual- because this is what causes a person to lose respect for another’s worth. Until Lag B'Omer we lived on the “food of Mitzrayim”, we kept some element of only looking at the group instead of focusing on the individual person. And this was the mistake even Rabbi Akiva’s talmidim made. Even though achdus is a very good thing and Rabbi Akiva’s talmidim only had the very best intentions of wanting to fully see the Jewish People as a Klal -as one body- we should never lose others’ and our own individuality.

Lag B'Omer is the time to break this mindset of Mitzrayim and recognize the value and uniqueness of each and every single Jew.

May we all always recognize each other’s uniqueness. 

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Ark of the Covenant - Solange Azagury-Partridge

“A collection of five precious objects designed as jewellery boxes. The box becomes the jewels. Each box tells its own story.

The Ark of the Covenant is a symbol of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Ark, a mythical entity, is held aloft by a mother-of-pearl cloud. It is made of carved white marble sitting on four golden lion’s feet. It is protected by four gold birds and two angels which, when combined together, form a necklace. The Ark opens up and inside are the 10 Commandments carved onto gold tablets. A cross of gold opens up to reveal 72 cabochon stones representing the 72 Hebrew Names of God. The stones are composed of12 colours representing the 12 Tribes of Israel.”

Modesty Monday
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Ever find a super cute dress that’s SOO perfect but SOO not tznius? Same. It used to suck. Enter the shell dress. I will concede that some dresses are best to be flaunted alone, but others (like, oh, this one) look even better with some extra color peaking out underneath!
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Shell dress: I don’t even know… Some frummy store about a million years ago
Dress: Forever 21
Sneaks: Converse All Star
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Love and shomer kisses,
Fashionably Frum

Progress!

So, this blog was seemingly very pointless for the longest time, because I literally made no advancement in my desire to pursue conversion to Judaism. This was due to various factors, but, truth be told, the main reason was because I let my nerves get the better of me, and I was too scared to escape my comfort zone. I tried to push the idea of conversion to the back of my mind, but no matter how hard I tried it kept coming back.

However, today I finally made progress. In hindsight, it was the simplest of steps- I simply emailed the Rabbi whom I wish to further discuss conversion with. It may not seem like that big a step, but honestly I’m just happy that I finally got past my irrational fear and did something for myself.

I guess now I’ll just have to wait, but I feel so much more optimistic about the whole thing because of this one very simple step.

Do you believe only when you can see with your eyes? When your prayers are answered and miracles carry you on their wings? Or do you also believe when circumstances fly in your face?

If it touches you to the core, if it is a belief you truly own, if it is as real to you as life itself, then it does not change.

And if it does not change, then you are bound up with the true essence of the One who does not change.

—  Daily Dose (Via Chabad.org)