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Friday, Nissan 28, 5778 / April 13, 2018


The Torah readings in Israel and in the Diaspora are usually the same. However, there are times when they differ. For the next few weeks, the Torah portions in the Diaspora and in Israel will differ.


In the Diaspora we will read Parshat Shemini. In Israel, they will read the next two Parshiot of, Tazria & Metzora, which will be our reading next Shabbat.


Q. Why is there a difference this time between Israel and the Diaspora?


A. It has to do with the holiday of Pesach. In Israel the holiday of Pesach is celebrated seven days. In the Diaspora we celebrate the holiday for eight days. Thus, when the first day of Pesach falls on Shabbat, as in this year, the last day of Pesach in Israel, where only seven days are observed, was on Friday. So last Shabbat was not Pesach anymore and the regular weekly Torah reading, Parshat Shemini, was read in the synagogue.


However, in the Diaspora, where the holday was celebrated for eight days, the last day of Pesach was on Shabbat and as a result, the regular Shabbat reading was waved for the holday reading. Thus, this Shabbat, which in the Diaspora is the first Shabbat after the holiday, we will read Parshat Shemini, the Parsha we stopped at before the holiday.


Thus, anyone travelling from the Diaspora to Israel in the next few weeks will miss a Torah portion on Shabbat. One travelling from Israel to the Diaspora, will hear the same portion twice. It will straighten out before the Shavuot holiday.


Q. How will the Torah readings straighten out?


A. Before Shavuot, we in the diaspora will combine the two Parshiot, Matos & Masei, while they will read only Masei, thus equalizing our Torah readings and that of Israel.


In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Shemini we read about the dedication of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle which the Jewish people built in the desert. The Torah tells us which sacrifices were offered on that day by Aaron, the High Priest and that of the congregation. On that first day of dedication, a tragedy befell Aaron who lost two of his sons, Nadav and Avihu, in the tabernacle. The Torah tells us that Aaron accepted his great loss in silence and didn’t question G-d’s action. This was considered a great merit for Aaron, for which he was rewarded.


In this Parsha we find the guidelines how to identify the kosher and non-kosher animals.   


This Shabbat we bless the new month, Iyar. The two days Rosh Chodesh will begin Saturday night, through Sunday and Monday.   



Montrealcandle lighting time: 7:20 / Shabbat ends: 8:26