This week’s Torah portion, Emor, forms a perfect counterpoint to last week’s portion, Kedoshim. Parashat Kedoshim, sometimes known as the Holiness Code, presented the moral laws that all of the people were to follow while Parashat Emor presents the specific concerns of the priests and levitical Judaism. Included in this week’s portion is the Counting of the Omer, the barley offering brought to the Temple between Passover and Shavuot.
As a modern update to this ancient ritual, Temple is numbering these days in a unique way. Instead of the traditional offering of sheaves of barley during the Counting of the Omer, we invite you to fulfill our religious obligation by bringing donations of feminine hygiene products. As income inequality continues to rise throughout our country, a critical oversight in many social safety net programs is emerging: access to feminine hygiene products. Many of these programs have restrictive guidelines that exclude items like tampons and pads. For women struggling to make ends meet or suffering through homelessness, this debilitating gap creates a huge basic health and human dignity challenge.
By reinventing this ancient practice and imbuing it with a modern twist, we can observe this historical ritual in a modern way, fulfill our Jewish obligation of tikkun olam, and make a difference in the lives of countless women. Will you join us?
Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer