Each week on Thursday, I intend to post two short reflections that play off each other in some way; that’s why I chose a format that displays in two columns. However, if you click on a particular entry, you won’t see its matching column. The home page will always display the two most recent entries side by side. To get back to the home page, simply click on the blog title.
For those who are wondering what a parsha is, the Jewish liturgical year assigns part of the Torah as a reading for each Sabbath service so that we read through the entire Torah every year. The completion of this reading is celebrated on the holiday Simchas Torah (rejoicing in the Torah). The weekly calendar of parshas is very old, and is shared by all branches of Judaism.
The parshas are long, sometimes as long as six chapters, so many individuals and congregations focus on a portion of the parsha* rather than attempt to ingest all of it. For this reason, a three-year (triennial) lectionary makes sense. The modern triennial lectionary** retains the structure of the weekly parshas, but subdivides them into three sections read in successive years. The Conservative movement makes the most extensive use of a triennial lectionary, and I’ll be following their calendar in this blog. This year (5773) they’re reading the final “third” of the parshas.
* Say it seven times fast, or put it in a Danny Kaye-like rhyme, “The vessel with the pestle has the portion of the parsha . . .”
** The one I use is from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. There were some ancient triennial lectionaries, devised before the current one year lectionary became the norm, that took three years to go from Genesis 1 to Deuteronomy 34.