This year, I'd like to shift our focus to something ELSE in our reading, namely the stranger in our midst. The Torah likes to talk about 'the stranger,' 'ha-ger'; either one who lives among you or just a passing
In the Book of Numbers, chapter 15, verses 14-16, we read: "And when, throughout the ages, a stranger who has taken up residence with you, or one who lives among you, would present a gift of pleasing odor to Adonai - as you do, so shall it be done by the rest of the congregation. There shall be one law for you and for the resident stranger; it shall be a law for all time throughout the ages. You and the stranger shall be alike before Adonai; the same ritual and the same rule shall apply to you and to the stranger who resides among you." And I purposely wrote out the whole quote for you, because I think it's significant that the same basic idea is repeated THREE times: You guys are the same! Don't treat non-Israelites any different. Don't keep one standard for Jews and one for non-Jews; don't discriminate between locals and foreigners; don't create a hierarchy within your community, where one person's donation/sacrifice/commitment is valued higher than another's. Don't do ANY of these things!!
Perhaps the reason we need to hear it repeated three times is because it's counter-intuitive. We LIKE to divide into categories, we like identifying an 'us' and a 'them.' It's human nature to create groupings,
Maybe three times wasn't repetition enough?
Photos in this blog post: