Parashat Nasso, & Rituals vs. Status

Inspiring Critical Thinking and Community via Books, Lessons, and Story

     This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Nasso,  is the 35th (35/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, 5782, we read 54 separate parshiot…) reading in the annual cycle, and the second parashah in the book of B’midbar/Numbers.   This parshah is also the longest parashah in the Torah (no, I have no idea why the rabbis chose to organize it this way, except that in the summer, those long days were more suited, probably, to studying the readings…).

     So, this week, readers of the full Annual Cycle for this portion (are there any Masorti/Conservative movement shuls still on the annual cycle?) will encounter a variety of odd, possibly even abusive, rituals, like the famous Sotah, vs. the Priestly Blessing (Duchaning), and more gifts to the hierarchy.  An innocent woman could be subjected to the ritual of Sotah merely upon the whim of a jealous husband, on the…

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