Congregation Beit Shalom

A 100% VirJEWal Synagogue serving the needs of all backgrounds of the Jewish Community of
Central, NJ since 1983

Eli B. Perlman, Rabbi

Who is Congregation Beit Shalom?

Congregation Beit Shalom / Monroe Township is a unique Conservative Egalitarian Congregation. The difference between this and other congregations is that we are truly a family. We get together to pray, to learn, to laugh, to sing, to schmooze - and it is 100% VirJEWal. When someone is in need, we help each other in ways that continue to inspire everyone.

To attend VirJEWal Religious Services
Every Shabbat and Yom Tov Morning at
9:30 am Eastern Time on YouTube...

April 20, 2024 / 12 Nisan 5784
Shabbat Metzora:
Torah: Levit. 14.1-15.33.
Haftorah Shabbat Hagadol:
Malachi 3.4-24.

While last week’s Torah Reading, Tazria, dealt with the detection of disease in the camp, this Sedra teaches us about the ritual cure in detail. A cleansing ritual was to be performed by the Kohein; the patients wash themselves, and cleans their clothes - no easy feat in a desert and in Ancient times!

The ill are isolated for seven days. On the eighth day, they bring two offerings on the altar.

Parasitic growths in the home were considered questionable and were required to be examined by the Kohein. In the most severe cases, the affected stones were to be removed from the building. Ultimately, if the whole house was infected, it would have to be razed.

This is a most misunderstood Sidra which seems, on the surface, to be preaching about cleanliness and prescribing all sorts of mumbo-jumbo as a "cure". Our Rabbis teach that this was no bacterial, viral, or medical disease, but rather it was a warning of different signs of the Divine displeasure that awaited those who used their G-d given gift of gab to malign their neighbors. Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi once said (Leviticus Rabbah 16.6), "This disease never actually was found." They teach this because these laws serve as an elaborate and graphic warning to the Jewish People against the terrible evil of gossip (Lashon Hora). In this light, the Sedrot that speak of these diseases will never lose their immediacy. 

The Sabbat immediately preceding Pesach is called Shabbat HaGadol, the great Sabbat. According to tradition, the 10th of Nisan in the year of the exodus was a Shabbat. It was considered a great event, in fact a miracle, that B'nai Yisrael could, on that day, select a lamb for sacrifice without being molested by their Egyptian masters, who, at other times, would have stoned them for such daring.

Another possible reason for the name is that the Haftarah for this Shabbat (Malachi 3:4-24) speaks of the “great day” of G*d on which the Mashiach will appear.

A novel explanation for the name of Shabbat HaGadol is that the people used to return from the synagogue later than usual on this Sabbath because of the unusually long sermon that was customary on this day.

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