The Middat HaShavuah, taken from this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Vayikra, instructs us to approach our work with care. The verse reads as follows:

 כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן, לַיהוָה  
Offer some of what you have to others 

This week marks the beginning of our reading from the third of the five Books of the Torah, Sefer Vayikra, also known as the Book of Leviticus. In Sefer Vayikra, and specifically in this week’s Torah portion bearing the same name, God provides guidance to the Israelites, as well as to Aaron and his sons, regarding the procedures for making sacrificial offerings in the Mishkan and proper conduct while encamped around the Ohel Moed. The instructions outlined in Sefer Vayikra underscore the significance of ritual, legal, and moral practices.

Vayikra, often misunderstood, prompts us to question the relevance of sacrificial offerings in our lives today. While the concept of sacrifice may seem distant, rooted in ancient rituals, its essence holds profound significance for us today. In Hebrew, the word for sacrifice, “Korban,” derives from the root “Karov,” meaning “to draw closer.” This sheds light on the true essence of sacrifice: a means to deepen our connection, whether with God or with our fellow human beings.

For our ancestors, sacrifice entailed relinquishing something of value to draw nearer to God. Similarly, in our contemporary context, the notion of sacrifice serves as a poignant reminder that forging meaningful connections requires a willingness to give of ourselves. Whether it’s in nurturing our relationship with God or fostering intimacy with others, the act of sacrifice underscores the importance of selflessness and generosity.

In essence, Vayikra calls on us to reflect on the profound wisdom encapsulated in the concept of sacrifice. It challenges us to consider how we can enrich our lives and relationships by embodying the spirit of sacrifice—by giving of ourselves wholeheartedly in pursuit of deeper connections and spiritual fulfillment.

Shabbat Shalom U’Mevorach,

Moreh Alan