November 19, 2018

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Behar-Bechukotai with Rabbi Aaron Rubinger

Our guest this week is Rabbi Aaron Rubinger, Senior Rabbi of the Ohev Shalom congregation in Orlando, Florida. Rabbi Rubinger is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Brandeis University. He has a Master’s  degree in Ancient History from UCLA, and he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, from which he also received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. Rabbi Rubinger volunteered in Israel during the Yom Kippur War, and was sent, as an activist on behalf of Soviet Jewry, to the USSR three times to meet with refuseniks. He is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly and has served as a member of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation and as the President of the Greater Orlando Board of Rabbis.

This week's Torah portion – Parashat Behar/Bechokotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34) – talks about Sabbatical and Jubilee years, regulations concerning commerce and the redemption of slaves. It also contains a description of the rewards for observing God's commandments and the series of punishments that will face Israel if they choose to disregard them. The Torah then discusses different types of gifts given to the Temple, and the animal tithe. Our discussion focuses on the Torah’s idea of sanctifying everything, including the mundane.

Our past discussion of Behar-Bechukotai:

Danny Burkeman on the meaning behind the laws concerning sabbatical years, which show the people of Israel the limits of their ownership of the land.

Aaron Lopatin on adapting the ideas of Shabbat, Shmita, crime, and punishment to a modern audience.