Roamin’ Holiday: Pinhas 2022

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: Do you typically observe holidays in your home or in someone else’s home? When you observe holidays differently than in previous years, do you ever feel unsettled doing so?

This portion includes one of several times that customs of the pilgrimage festivals are mentioned:

The Pitch: “On the fifteenth day of that month, a festival. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days.” – Numbers 28:17

Swing #1: “The Hebrew hag implies a pilgrim festival. The noun derives from hug, ‘to move about in a circle’, and in all likelihood refers to the trajectory of the pilgrim procession making its way to the sanctuary.” – Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary

Swing #2: “Rabbi Yohanan in the name of Rabbi Ismael: It is said fifteenth regarding Passover and it is said fifteenth regarding Tabernacles. Since for the fifteenth which was said regarding Passover the last day is a make-up for the first, also for the fifteenth which was said regarding Tabernacles the last day is a make-up for the first.” – Jerusalem Talmud Chagigah

Swing #3: “Reciting the Torah sections about the holidays … is a segulah for nullifying harsh judgment and for success in one’s dealings in secular courts.” – Sefer HaMiddot

Late-Inning Questions: Given that the rules commanding a pilgrimage festival assume that celebrants are traveling to a common location, does it seem strange that many of us stay in our home communities to observe them today? Would we benefit from traveling for a holiday, even if we don’t necessarily go to Jerusalem? How can we benefit from learning how Judaism is observed in different communities?

On-Deck at TBT: As we are in the midst of the Three Weeks, we are approaching Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar. We hope you’ll join us for our observance of Tisha B’Av August 6th-7th.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of travel, the All Star Game took place this week at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles; the games typically take place in a different location every year. Should this practice continue? Or should there only be a handful of well-suited cities that host the game?

Shabbat Shalom!