Crash Cards for Shemini (5760)
by Marc Mangel
• The parsha covers sacrifices on the 8th day, the death of Nadav and Avihu, the laws of Kashurt. Today I want to discuss aspects of mourning — one of our oldest traditions.
• Ch 10, v 6: Do not rend your clothes. This goes back to Reuven finding the pit empty (Genesis 37:2).
• Keriah — the rending of a garment — is still done today, or represented by wearing a black ribbon.
• Maurie Lamm writes “Tradition calls upon us to tear our garments , to put the mark of the broken heart on our own clothing — not to vent our feelings on a meaningless and impersonal strip of cloth pinned on us by a stranger.
• Ch 10, v 4 deals with the second half of mourning. “Let your brethren, the whole house of Israel bewail” — this is the beginning of letting the community share in grief, let it flow out
• In KADDISH, Leon Wieseltier writes that Rashi at age 30 stands up and rebels against a universal custom by saying Kaddish during a festival and changed the tradition. “He destroyed an old tradition and created a new tradition” and then writes “If we create a new tradition upon whom we might rely for transmission?” and that “A tradition that is completely transparent is one that is completely over”
• A bit of gematria. Our mourning periods are 3 days, 7 days, 30 days, and 12 months? 3+7 =10, 10+30 =40, 40 +12 = 52, 5+2 =7.
•Thank you for the cards and letters after my father’s death. They helped a lot.