Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 10: Vayikra

vayikra(Leviticus 1 – 5)

It’s no surprise that, traditionally, little Jewish children begin their study of the Torah with this parsha, which details the different types of animal sacrifice. Boys would enjoy hearing how the priest used his long fingernail to separate the head of a bird from its body then wrenched off its throat, squeezed out its blood and set fire to it, whilst girls might like to colour in a picture or something.

It’s important for children to learn about sacrifices such as sin offerings and guilt offerings and crippling school fees that don’t even take into account uniform and ski trips and sports gear, (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 11: Tsav

tsav(Leviticus 6 – 8 )

In this week’s parsha, we read how it was the priest’s job to remove the ashes that had built up overnight from the altar. It seems like a menial task but the priests, the loftiest members of the Israelite community still did it. Imagine Lord Winston in yellow rubber gloves taking out a bin bag which is leaking a bit so he has to hold it away from him and therefore ends up mincing slightly. That’s exactly the image this parsha’s trying to convey. It reminds us that a lord isn’t necessarily better than a dustbin man, that a Rabbi isn’t necessarily better than a caretaker. Though mostly he is. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 12: Shemini

shemini(Leviticus 9 – 11)

The time: First day of Nissan, one year to the day after the Exodus.

The place: Sinai.

As the Children of Israel stand full of awe before Moses, who’s about to share with them the laws of kashrus (what you can and can’t eat), Nadab and Abihu, two sons of Aaron, offer up something unprescribed on the altar of the L-rd and are struck dead by a fire from on high.

The time: the present, 3287 years later.

The place: North London.

As the readers of the Jewish Chronicle stand full of awe before another of Rabbi Schneider’s inspirational dissections of the week’s parsha, a certain Rabbi F sends round an abusive email claiming that I’m mentally unstable and that in the past few months I’ve been served four injunctions and been cautioned by the police on no less than five occasions.

It’s not hard to see the similarities between these two events. Plus ca change, as we say in Yiddish. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 13: Tazria

It's a massive sin to say bad things about me

(Leviticus 12-13)

You don’t have to be Joseph from the Bible or Andrew Lloyd Webber to know that dreams can be really weird. The other night, I dreamt I had this huge lulav, and Rabbi F and the honorary officers of the synagogue and the editor of the Jewish Chronicle had these tiny lulavs and my wife’s lover the builder who’s a woman had no lulav at all, just a tiny esrog, and I went round knocking everyone over with my huge, massive lulav, and my wife kneeled down before my lulav and worshipped it. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 14: Acharei Mos

achareimot042(Leviticus 16-18)

First of all, I must apologise for last week’s article. I personally don’t feel I need to, but our glorious comrade leader Herr Editor feels I “must”. So I’m very sorry if some of the things I wrote may have been interpreted as offensive and distasteful by certain empty-headed, easily offended, dimwitted morons who like to read the JC while eating and found that reading about a harmless, hideous, leprous-like skin disease which is making my life a living gehenem put them off some extortionately expensive pastry that’s probably full of seafood and sweetened with concentrated pig.

There. A full and frank apology. Happy now?

On then to this week’s parsha, (more…)

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