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Parshat Vayikra


5760 About 25 years ago after I graduated University I began to get interested in Judaism. Naturally the first book I undertook reading was the Five Books of Moses. Genesis and Exodus were pretty interesting. But then I turned the page to Leviticus (this week’s section) and saw page after page of animal sacrifices!
5761 About 25 years ago after I graduated University I began to get interested in Judaism. Naturally the first book I undertook reading was the Five Books of Moses. Genesis and Exodus were pretty interesting. But then I turned the page to Leviticus (this week’s section) and saw page after page of animal sacrifices!
5762 This week's section begins the third and central book of the Five Books of Moses. While the first two books were mainly stories about righteous people here we have only commandments.
5763 This week's section begins the complicated and mysterious laws of the Temple sacrifices. For example: in the end of this week's section we find the laws regarding the 'Chatat' and the 'Asham' sacrifices.
5764 If you look in a Torah scroll you will see that the first word in this week's section ends with a small letter "VAYIKRa" (G-d CALLED). That's the way it's supposed to be written. This does not seem to make sense. This small letter changes neither the meaning nor the pronunciation of the word. Why is it small?
5765 This week's section begins the third book of the Torah, VaYikra which continues where the book of Exodus left off.
5766 This week's section opens the book of Leviticus where we learn about the animal sacrifices. But strangely it opens with an apparently meaningless phrase: 'Vayikra el Moshe' "And He (G-d) called to Moses."
5767 In this week's section we begin to learn in detail about the different types of animal sacrifices. One of the details is that with each sacrifice must be included a small amount of 'salt'! (2:13) The entire topic of the sacrifices is very foreign and almost primitive to our western, civilized minds. And it especially doesn't seem to make much sense that G-d would take the Jews out of Egypt with massive miracles…. for them to kill innocent animals!!
5769 This week we begin the book of Leviticus and usher in the Month of Nissan; the month of miracles (unlike the Month of Tishrei which commemorates the creation of nature, Nissan commemorates the birth of the Jewish people; above nature.) But strangely, if you look in a Torah Scroll you may notice that the first word of our portion, (meaning G-d 'Called' to Moses), is written with a small last letter: VAYIKRa.
5772 This week's Torah portion begins the laws of sacrifices and tells us that they were a 'Pleasing smell (or spirit) to G-d' (1:9). At first glance this makes no sense. How can killing animals please G-d? Doesn't Judaism teach that G-d is infinite and has no form? How can He smell or be pleased?
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