In Parashat Emor, the Torah reports that a man born of mixed Israelite-Egyptian descent “blasphemed the Name [of God],” was placed on trial, and was stoned to death. A law was then enacted that anyone, Jewish or gentile, who blasphemes the name of God shall be put to death. Over time, in communities throughout the world, laws against blasphemy were put in place to address curses leveled at God as well as perceived slights against some religions.
In Haazinu, Moses recites a poem telling the people of Israel that they must give glory to God and be true to God whose ways are just. He instructs them to consult their elders and “remember the days of old.”
As we approach Deaf and Hard-of -Hearing Awareness Shabbat, I am reminded of Leviticus 19:14, "You shall not insult the deaf."
When we love something, we want to share it – so why not be inspired to bring our Jewish friends into the kehilla kedosha (holy community), embracing them within a wonderful, sacred congregation?
“Who’s that guy?” I asked my mom.
“He’s the rabbi,” she answered. I stared up at my mom, with a blank gaze on my face.
When I was eight years old, my family joined a synagogue for the first time.