Parsha Tzav and Building Spiritual & Social Harmony

Last week the Book of Numbers, VaYikra, opened with animal sacrifices and how animals and other kinds of offerings were intended to draw the people closer (korban) to God and to each other.

This week’s Parsha, Tzav, continues the focus on offerings, as a means to building spiritual and social harmony. But reading the Parsha doesn’t really make us feel very good. Enough with the sacrifices already?

Thankfully, the selection from the prophet, the Haftarah, for that morning, from Jeremiah, really helps us understand the higher purpose for our existence.

The haftorah concludes with God’s warning: “Let not the wise person boast of wisdom, nor the strong person boast of strength, nor the rich person boast of riches. But let the one that boasts exult in this, in the one who understands and knows me, for I am God who practices kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth; for in these things I delight, says God.”

As we are experiencing the powerful opposing forces in Israel, we are witnessing the ancient prophetic voices of our prophets and our people crying out against injustice and threats to a court system mandated in the Torah to be impartial and just. That hundreds of thousands are now standing again at “Sinai”, so we also see significant shifts in the response of the mainstream Jewish community in the US.

Take note of the new movement that has recently been birthed in Israel. These are Faithful Leftists, Smol Emuni, religious Jews who stand for democracy and human rights. See link.

What are our offerings today? Can we find more time to offer up our yearnings for justice and peace in actions and mitzvot that make a difference? What is our response to the horrific killings, again, that we learned about yesterday in Nashville? Shame on our leaders. What does it take to awaken their souls? What more can we do as a community?

This Shabbas is Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Sabbath. It precedes Pesach and introduces us to the message of Eliyahu. May your Pesach be nourishing and filled with renewal,  Reb David

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