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The beauty of Vayikra, yes Vayikra

03/22/2018 01:39:31 PM


Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

Last week, we began reading Vayikra, Leviticus, which happens to be my favorite book in the Torah. Many might find this surprising, especially given that many understand Leviticus as consisting only of rituals, particularly sacrificial laws, the priestly cult and the challenge of impurities. Additionally, many of these rituals are full of details that appear to the modern reader as instructions for a very specific bar-be-que. It’s not exactly a page turner. There are many who justifiably think these ancient rituals have absolutely nothing to offer the contemporary reader.
I respectfully disagree. Leviticus, in my humble opinion, is the most important book in the Hebrew Bible. It lays out a plan for how to create a connected community that respectfully takes care of one another, sets out clear boundaries for acceptable behavior among all members and offers a way to reestablish order when things go wrong. It calls us (the word Vayikra translated means “and (God) called) to establish a system that radically pursues justice and democratizes holiness so that everyone can be in relationship with God. It’s not simply a book about rituals and sacrifices, but rather an optimistic guide for how the people and God can be in partnership to create a more perfect world. Perhaps it’s worth a second glance?

Wed, November 13 2019 15 Cheshvan 5780