Not just a decree, but the decree. And what a complex decree it is! We begin this week’s busy Torah portion with a law that has continued to baffle scholars, sages and biblical students alike over the years: the purifying ashes of the red heifer.
After scouting the Promised Land of Canaan, ten of the twelve spies came back and delivered a statement that provoked fear in the hearts of the Israelites.
It seems we begin this portion of the Torah with a continuation of more numbers. More counting. More censuses. But here we notice something strange. Just prior in Numbers 3:17 the sons of Levi are listed in order of their seniority with Gershon being first, Kohat listed second and Merari…
Why do these blessings only speak of a plentiful harvest and safety from enemies? Are there no spiritual blessings that accompany obedience to the will of Elohim? Wouldn’t “following His decrees and observing His commandments and performing them” (Leviticus 26:3) merit a personal growth and blessing as well? The Torah, apparently, doesn’t see the need to expound on that. It seems to imply that there is a direct link between how the crops turn out and how we behave. Why?
This week’s Parsha deals with some seemingly outdated topics about farming. Leviticus 25:1-2 begins with the command that when we should come into the land, we are to let it rest and have its own Sabbath. It goes on to clarify:
his week’s Torah portion begins with a command that seems to be nearly impossible to fulfill. But is it really as difficult as it sounds?
To most people, the book of Vayikra/Leviticus is an onslaught of laws, rules, rituals, and outdated information. But for those willing to look deeper, there are all sorts of treasures to be found. Such is the case with this week’s Torah Portion.
There had been a seven day inauguration process that was set to reach its climax today. It was now the first of Nissan. For those past seven days, Aaron and his sons were taught and trained by Moshe in regards to the specifics of the different offerings that could be brought to the Mishkan. Up to this point, Moses had been the one doing the processes and procedures concerning the atonement offerings. It was now Aaron’s turn.
This week we begin a new book of the Torah, Vayikra. Vayikra, or “Leviticus” in English actually means “And He called”. Here Adoni calls Moshe to Himself to teach him the statutes regarding the temple sacrifices and offerings. As briefly touched on in last weeks Shabbat teaching, sacrifice or korban, in Hebrew, (קָרְבָּן) comes from the root word karav (קָרַב) meaning “to approach or to come near”. It’s important to note, however, that the very first thing given to Moshe is in regards to one who decides to give an “olah kerebano,” the ascending offering.
This weeks Torah portion begins with Moshe calling the entire congregation of Israel together. This is where the title is derived from, “And he assembled”. We begin reading about Shabbat being set aside and then donations of the people for the building of the Mishkan (The Tabernacle). Note that it makes clear that the donations were from those who’s heart moved them, indicating a voluntary donation.