Shabbat Aharei-Mot 5776
This Shabbat is what I always think of as the Bridge Shabbat. It’s the Shabbat that falls between two recent additions to the rhythm of the Jewish calendar: Yom HaShoah, our annual commemoration of the Holocaust, has just ended; Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s day of independence, is next week, beginning Wednesday night.
There’s one more way this Shabbat seems to form a bridge between two perspectives on time. The weekly Torah portion is Aharei-Mot, so named because of God’s address to Moshe “after the deaths” of Aharon’s two eldest sons. But we’ll read a different haftarah on Sbabbat, the passage known as Mahar Hodesh–“tomorrow is the New Moon, says Yehonatan to his friend and father’s rival, David. One uses the language of retrospection; the other looks forward.
The image of a bridge is an ideal metaphor for the relationship between past and future. How do we get from one to the other? In which direction are we more likely to face? How do we apply lessons from the past in order to inform the future?
Given the rhythm of the Jewish calendar, I don’t believe it’s an accident that we are meant to stand on this bridge between Yom HaShoah and Yom Ha’atzmaut and consider what to see when we face either toward last week or this coming week. What, for you, is the connection between these two closely-proximate modern Jewish observances? On Shabbat morning, we’ll ponder some interesting words on the subject that come from an unlikely source.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Wise