"These are God's appointed festivals which you shall proclaim as holy times" Leviticus 23:37


Parashat Emor introduces the dimension of sacred time into the holy space of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. The Jewish people had been physically involved in building a dwelling-place for God. Now they had to be active at the appointed time, in celebrating God's mo'adim, festivals.

If we think about the words ohel mo'ed, the tent of meeting in which Moses met and communed with God, then the word mo'ed takes on a different nuance. Each festival becomes a meeting with God, our meeting, the sacred dimension of which we must attempt to express in physical celebration.

The idea of mo'ed is stitched deeply into the fabric of our Jewish identity. It's more familiar name is Yom Tov. Tunes echo, seasons elicit different festival associations, evocative aromas stir our sense of smell and taste. Lots of Jews feel this, not everyone of course; others are aware of its absence and some feel nothing at all - but I always suspect there's a little spark tucked away somewhere. If not, then the parashah adjures us to kindle one. Why? Because we are the carriers of the flame and mo'ed is the sacred time-capsule in which we travel: indeed for Yom Tov we very often do.

Don't feel guilty, that's an old drum to bang. As long as you know the most important thing to take with you is your connection to sacred time. Bring it into visceral reality wherever you are by actively helping to create a meaningful, uplifting, heart-warming, informed and inspirational Jewish festival experience for others and for yourself. Pull out all the stops! Meet with God in ways which will be remembered, cherished, and most importantly, passed on.

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