WWOT – Weekly Words of Torah: Parashat Vayikra (Shabbat Zachor)

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

This week we begin a new book of the Torah, Sefer Vayikra, the book of Leviticus, and we read the Torah reading by the same name, Parashat Vayikra. In addition, this Shabbat, we read from a second Sefer Torah, Torah scroll, since it is Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat of Memory, the Shabbat observed before Purim. The additional Torah reading for Shabbat Zachor is from the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 25, Verses 17-19: “Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt…you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!” The wording always seems paradoxical –  we are told to remember, yet, at the same time, blot out their memory – and not forget. It seems this way with bad memories, at times. We try to forget horrific events, yet, sometimes, we just cannot erase them, or blot them out from our minds and memories.

Last week, for Parashat Pekudei, I wrote about assessment and evaluation. Often, we could have nine compliments and one complaint, and the one complaint is what we will remember and dwell on. If only we could remember the positive and forget the negative. However, we do learn from the negative. What can Shabbat Zachor teach our WLCJ community? This Shabbat can be a time to remind us to do hakarat hatov – recognition of the good in our life, especially the people who make our sisterhoods successful – in every aspect. It is important to remember to acknowledge all that people do, and to remember to compliment people, and to give recognition. Let us all have more positive memories, than negative memories always, recognizing the people who have helped shape those fond memories.

WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.

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