VAYIKRA – “G-d calls out….
Leviticus, the Third book in the Torah, contains very little action in comparison to the last few portions of the previous Book of Shemot. It is primarily devoted to the rules governing the relationship with
G-d with the Jewish nation and each person as an individual. The first two and half sections describe the procedures for offering sacrifices. The first section of the Book of Leviticus opens as G-d calls out to Moses, instructing him to enter the Tabernacle so He can teach him these procedures.
G-d says to Moses, “when someone brings a sacrifice…..”
The notion of sacrifices seems to run contrary to the Jewish concept of G-d; G-d has no need to “consume” or to be “bribed” by our sacrifices. Yet we see in this section of the Torah that G-d not only accepts sacrifices but explicitly sets down the procedures for them, giving every indication that He actually wants them!
In fact, the Hebrew word translated as “sacrifice” of “offering”- Korban – means “getting close.”
Although, we generally associate sacrifices with atonement for sin, the first sacrifices mentioned in this section are voluntary offerings, which an individual brings to G-d, not to atone for sin but out of the desire to draw closer to Him. Of course some of the sacrifices are indeed sin – offerings. This simply indicates that G-d calls out to all of us to draw close to Him – not only to the guiltless amongst us – at all times.
Nowadays, in the absence of the Tabernacle or its permanent successor, (the holy Temple in Jerusalem), there are three ways that we draw close to G-d; through studying Torah – particularly its teachings about sacrifices; through prayer, the liturgy of which is modelled after sacrifices; and through acts of charity and kindness.
I trust that you had an uplifting Shabbat as we had to practice alone from our own “mini Tabernacles”
It does appear that this will be the case for some weeks. Please stay safe and follow medical and government advice, and keep looking at our websites and e mails being sent out continuously.
Have a safe and healthy week, staying at home wherever possible.
Feel free to call our Chabad Office if we can be of any help during this difficult time.