26 May Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for B’har 5776
This Shabbat we read from Parashat B’har and only Parashat B’har. I emphasize this point because most often B’har is combined with the portion that follows, B’chukotai, but this year each has its own Shabbat at its own glory. And glory B’har deserves as we learn from it many important lessons including the responsibility we have to redeem our kinsman when they are in difficult situations. This mitzvah applies to financial straits but the greater expansion is also that of being physically captured and needing to be redeemed. The commandment of pidyon sh’vuyim, of redeeming captives, is one that our Jewish community has taken seriously since our earliest battles and continues to be in the forefront of our minds today. Note well, that we read this parasha as we prepare to commemorate Memorial Day when we recall those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States of America. When we do so, let us also recall all those who fought and sacrificed themselves, often resulting in capture by the enemy, so that we can continue to lead our free lives. Their sacrifice shall never be forgotten.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik