Establishment of the Mishkan

This past Shabbat we concluded the Book of Exodus with establishment of the Mishkan, the sacred structure. So, what now? Can the Israelites now, continue on their journey to the Land of Promise?

Our Torah authors and sages let us know that there is a profound need that must be addressed first. And so, before they pack up, we see a revolutionary blueprint for creating “conscious community.” The Book of Leviticus begins with idea that you need devotional practices that bind the members of the community to each other and to the Ultimate Liberator and Life Giver. VaYikra begins with detailed instructions about how to perform Korbanot, sacrifices, for different consciousness building purposes. They include expressing gratitude, expressions of peace and peacemaking, repentance and dealing with guilt. The word Korban is from the Hebrew word “to draw closer.” The whole idea is to draw closer to the Life Giver and to draw closer to each other. The psycho-spiritual health of the people was key. The Korbanot also serve as enhancements of the Mitzvot, the right actions that we are called upon to do.

For those of us who are vegetarians, reading this Parsha is not helpful. Thankfully, after the destruction of the Temple, there is a shift from animal sacrifice to prayer and the service of the heart, Avodat HaLev.

But, back to the main purpose of creating Conscious Community. Our prophets universally made it clear that an emphasis on “offerings” was contrary to our purpose. Our purpose as a people, as our prophets taught, was to create a more just, compassionate, and loving society and world.

We look forward to exploring the Book of Leviticus these next few weeks. May light be sown for the just and joy for the upright in heart. Ps.97:11

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