Shabbat Tsav

Candles Friday, March 25th 6:54pm
Havdalah March 26th 7:50pm


Thank you again to Joe Minion and Morad Ghadamian and their families
for last night's packed and exciting Megillah reading and reception.

Last week the Torah gave a list of the animals (and vegetarian options) that constituted the Sacrificial system. There has always been a difference of opinion as to whether the sacrifices would return if the Temple were to be re-built. Our prayers are full of requests to bring them back. But this might be a nostalgic desire to return to a time when we controlled our own destiny and when God’s law was accepted more readily than it is today.

Maimonides said in his Guide To The Perplexed, that sacrifices were only a temporary concession to the universal mood at the time that saw sacrifices as the obvious way to connect with God. Nowadays we prefer prayer and meditation. Perhaps we will change again in our preferences. Even those who think sacrifices will return concede that Elijah will prepare for such a moment and that we have no idea how exactly he will instruct us in the Divine Service.

This is of course purely theoretical at this stage. So for us we look at these chapters and try to learn moral lessons from them that are relevant today.

This week the order of sacrifices switches from content, to methodology. Last week the order was Olah, the community offering to God, Minha the personal offering, Shelamim those that bring people together. And finally the various forms of Sin Offerings, Hataot, when one tries to rectify a situation or action. The message here is that there are three levels of responsibility, God, Personal and Communal.

This week as we involve the Priests in the ceremonies, the order is Minha, Hatot and Shelamim. The priorities differ. If priests act on behalf of the community they must establish the correct relationship with God first. This requires them to ensure that any failures or errors in their own lives have to be corrected before they can turn to service the community. And that is what we need in our leaders today, that should set themselves right before they dare to try to to tell others what to do!