March 8, 2021 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Vayikra (2)

Pity the rabbis who - Pesach aside - have to write sermons in the coming weeks. Parshah Va-Yikra, the start of the third book of the Torah, spends much time on sacrifices and priestly rituals, topics that don't immediately resonate for most congregants. Take chapter 4 of Leviticus which is about sacrifices to make up for when one "unwittingly incurs guilt" by accidentally violating one of the negative mitzvot. It may be interesting to know that there were sacrifices to expiate inadvertent sins, but keep reading. It starts by focusing on such actions by priests (4:3), by the entire community (4:13), by a chieftain (4:22), and only then addresses what happens when "any person from among the populace" (4:27) sins in error. The concern is much broader than individual faults and expiation, and makes clear that the rules apply to both the religious and political leaders as well. Without pointing any fingers, isn't that a lesson that still needs to be learned today?

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Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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