This Torah portion, as Leviticus generally, involves the minute detail of the sacrifices. Ritual ensures that you don’t miss a step. Imagine pilots taking off without going through a check-list. Imagine cooking by memory, without following a recipe. I bake rye bread, and I omitted the salt, and I had to throw two loaves (three hours’ work) in the garbage. I make waffles, and one time I omitted the salt and one other time I omitted the baking powder. When I omitted the salt the waffles were tasteless, and when I omitted the baking powder the waffles were one-eighth of an inch high.
In these times, attention to detail is very important. Stay away from each other. If you go to the store, wear a mask and gloves. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. If at all possible, leave non-perishable groceries in your garage or a similar place for two days, and wipe off the packages with sanitizing wipes, if you have them. Gayle and I last went to the supermarket on March 16, and we didn’t buy any produce that didn’t have a skin that you don’t eat: cantaloupe, pineapple, bananas.
There is another meaning of “ritual,” meaning religious observance. We have held the Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael morning minyan every day this week, and I am glad that some people from the Ahavas Sholom community have participated. Jewish ritual can be comforting, so you are welcome to start the day with prayers.
I am going to buy the expanded version of Zoom, which allows us unlimited time. At 10:30 this Saturday, we will daven the preliminary service and Shacharit, and maybe we will have a discussion about the Torah portion. Everybody (up to 100 people) is invited to join me to have Havdalah at 8:08 p.m. on Saturday night. If you don’t have a siddur, follow the instruction that I included in a past e-mail to download an e-siddur. If you didn’t get that e-mail or don’t understand it, call me, 908-591-4037. I will put out a separate e-mail with the times and the Zoom links.
Keep well and keep safe.