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Archive for May, 2012

“Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of their names, every male by a head count.” (Numbers 1:2)

Questions: Why does God feel a need to count his people? Why do any of us count anything? What does the process of counting do for us? For others?

Ideas: Serve any vegetable or fruit that can be sliced into rounds and then halved to represent a half-shekel (cucumber, zucchini, kiwi), serve round cookies (halved), or serve some type of food that can be counted and play counting games – with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, candy or breakfast cereal.

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“You will eat very old produce, and you will clear out the old from before the new.” (Leviticus 26:10)

Questions: Why does God enumerate so many blessings and curses in this chapter of the Bible? What is a blessing? What is a curse? Why is eating old produce considered a blessing?

Ideas: Serve anything aged, from apple cobbler or pie made from “aged” apples in your fridge that were going bad, to the best aged wine, whiskey, steak or cheese.

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“And you shall count for yourself seven sabbatical years, seven years seven times. And the days of these seven sabbatical years shall amount to forty-nine years for you.” (Leviticus 25:8)

“And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live on it. It shall be a Jubilee for you, and you shall return, each man to his property, and you shall return, each man to his family.” (Leviticus 25:10)

Questions: Why do we need to count these years? What is the point of these laws? What do they mean? What is God trying to teach us – and why do we need both of these different types of special agricultural years?

Ideas: Make a pretend golden anniversary celebration for God and the world. Purchase 50th anniversary plates, balloons and décor. Concoct a cherries jubilee cocktail and toast your freedom, committing to give yourself a fresh chance.

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“Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: The Lord’s appointed holy days that you shall designate as holy occasions – these are My appointed holy days. Six days, work may be performed, but on the seventh day, it is a complete rest day, a holy occasion; you shall not perform any work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places. These are the Lord’s appointed holy occasions, which you shall designate in their appointed time.” (Leviticus 23:2–4)

Questions: Though this chapter of the Bible starts out telling us about the holidays, the verses then go on to discuss the Sabbath – why would this be? What makes a holiday a special time? What makes the weekend or Sabbath a special time? What sanctifies a day and makes it holy?

Ideas:Serve items associated with each of the holidays mentioned above, apples dipped in honey, dairy products, an empty plate perhaps to symbolize the day of atonement, matzah for Passover, and a harvest food for the Tabernacle Festival. Alternatively you can serve food items that represent the weekend or the Sabbath to you – your favorite foods.

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‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not completely reap the corner of your field, and you shall not gather the fallen stalks of your harvest. You shall not pick the small, incompletely formed bunches of grapes of your vineyard or the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the Lord your God.’ (Leviticus 19:10)

Questions: Why is giving “leftovers” to the poor a charitable deed? Why are we not commanded to give the best of our crops and food to the poor? And isn’t it obvious that we must be charitable to those less fortunate than us? Why must God tell us this? And why isn’t it enough to just tell us to be charitable and not to tell us exactly how to do it?

Ideas: Serve an abundance of grapes – take all the grapes off of their stems except for one cluster. Serve raisins or grapes on a square plate and leave one corner empty. You can really do this for effect with everything you serve – leave one corner of the brownie tray “unharvested,” don’t eat the last slice of meatloaf, etc.

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“Aaron shall place lots on the two goats: one marked ‘For the Lord,’ and the other marked, ‘For Azazel.’ And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the lot, ‘For the Lord,’ comes up, and offer it as a sin offering. And the goat on which the lot ‘For Azazel’ comes up, shall be placed while still alive, before God, to achieve atonement through it, and to send it away to Azazel, to the desert.” (Leviticus 16:8-10)

Questions: What is Azazel? Why must a goat be cast off into Azazel? Why does a sacrifice not suffice?

Ideas: Serve goat’s cheese, goat’s milk or anything made with goat products, you can also serve anything “wild” like wild rice, wild strawberries, or wild mushrooms to represent the wilderness of Azazel.

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