Yom Shishi, 7 Nisan 5775
Friday, 27 March 2015
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Read an inspired commentary on this week’s Torah portion by one of our free-thinking Liberal Rabbis.

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Parashat Tzav
27th March 2015 - Rabbi Aaron Goldstein

יוֹד֣וּ לַיהֹוָ֣ה חַסְדּ֑וֹ וְ֝נִפְלְאוֹתָ֗יו לִבְנֵ֥י אָדָֽם: וְ֭יִזְבְּחוּ זִבְחֵ֣י תוֹדָ֑ה

Let them give thank to the Eternal One for God’s steadfast love and wonderful works to the children of humanity; and let them offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving… (Psalm 107:21-22a)

Rav Yehuda in the name of Rav (bBerakhot 54b) and Rashi base their comments on the thanksgiving offerings described in Parashat Tzav on Psalm 107. There is a fourfold repetition of the phrase, “Let them gives thank to the Eternal One for God’s steadfast love and wonderful works to the children of humanity (verses 8, 15, 21 and 31);” and as noted above, the citation in verse 21 is followed by a direct reference to the thanksgiving offering.

I am interested by this phrase and particularly the reference to “the children of humanity.” In saying that all people might offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving, does it have a particular connotation, being reserved for the Israelites and their descendants who based on this Psalm are commanded to say Ha’Gomel blessings in four situations; or can it be more universally and literally understood, this commandment stood for all?

The past few weeks have involved much interfaith work in Watford. With the forthcoming parliamentary elections as the hook, I found myself with a number of Muslims of different origins, a Sikh and a Christian minister as a group looking to affect future change from the candidates should they win the next election. This was coincidental to an invitation to an exploratory conversation with clergy at the North Watford Mosque.

It was quickly clear that this was a safe space. Coming from many backgrounds we had the shared goal of serving God and our congregations. We differed in the level of welfare and social action work that was expected of us. There was also an example of how easy it is to assume agreement, as one of our group made a statement about the morality of assisted dying as if there were no doubt that there would be uniform condemnation for such a notion.

However, the commonality was far greater and the desire to maintain a stable society and further to affect improvements, enough I am sure to make the One God of us all smile. To that we would all ‘give thanks to the Eternal One for God’s steadfast love and wonderful works to the children of humanity,’ yet bring offerings of thanksgiving to God in our own particular way and using our own particular names for God.

 

 

 

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