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Parshat Vayikra

Dear STOCS Friend:

 

We begin the third book of the Torah, Vayikra, this Shabbas.  Realistically, Jews know less about this book than the other four.  Rabbi Francis Nataf, in the book, Redeeming Relevance, feels the reason is due to Vayikra Avoidance Syndrome. The Book of Leviticus deals mainly with the sacrificial order, the hallmark of the Mishkan and the Holy Temple.  The details are complicated to understand, resulting in an inferior grasp of the mitzvot discussed.

 

The קרבנות (sacrifices) were within the realm of the kohanim (priests).  The Rabbis call the Book of Vayikra: Torat Kohanim meaning the Teaching of the Priests.  Rabbi Nataf writes: “For the sense that the laws pertaining to priests should have been given only to the priests themselves is what prevents most of us from taking proper interest in the Book.” This is a mistaken assumption by too many Jews.

However, the Torah teaches us we are a kingdom of priests. Though the laws of priests apply only to the kohanim, Rabbi Nataf writes, “We are a nation of priests.” The application of this idea is quite important today.  Every Jew must project the beauty of Torah and Yiddishkeit. We must behave in a way befitting the עם נבחר the Chosen Nation.

We are approaching a period on the calendar that is filled with גאולה redemption:  The redemption of Purim and Egypt. Let our actions be the catalyst to bring about the Geulah Shlaimah the full redemption and the rebuilding of the Third Holy Temple.

 

This Shabbas is also Parshat Zachor, when we read how Amalek cowardly attacked the Jewish people in the desert. Please God, let our enemies of today be destroyed and peace return to the Land of Israel.

 

I look forward to seeing you in Shul on Shabbas and Purim.  Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Evan Shore

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