“These are My fixed times, the fixed times of the Eternal One, which you shall proclaim as sacred occasions” (Leviticus 23:1)
We’re constantly counting time. We have our watches and electronic calendars, computers, cellphones, IPads, Smartphones. We always want to know what time it is (or really how much time we have until we have to be somewhere else).
This week’s Parasha does something different to our calendars. Let’s try to imagine God’s calendar. We see there’s an entry for Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret. And there’s a list of instructions how we should observe each of these occasions. By making the celebration of each of these special days sacred, we add meaning to our lives.
Through the years, in Rabbinic Times, other Jewish holy days were added to the calendar. For example, on Tisha B’Av, we mourn and we experience loss. On Chanukah, we make light and we remember.
We move beyond the ordinary when we make it a point to mark time as sacred. These holy days suggest something unique: that all of our experiences, from loss to celebration, from low points to high, from sickness to health, all have their place not only in an individual’s lifecycle, but also in the fabric of our “community calendar”. Celebrating significant dates on our Jewish calendar allows us to connect not only with our Jewish community, but with God, as well. They have been embedded in the cycle of our years since ancient times. Our tradition tells us: No matter what life brings you, you remain embedded in the fabric of Jewish time, and in the pattern of Jewish life.
Parasha Emor reminds us that whether we face joy or sorrow, illness or loss, pain or healing, certainty or despair, or life or death, we remain a part of the sacredness of our peoples' life.So, now it’s up to us. Make the time.