February 24, 2018 ~ Shabbat ZAKHOR. Maqam SIGAH.

Shabbat Vayiqra


אדם כי יקריב מכם - In the Book of Leviticus, Moses teaches the proper procedure of how to offer a sacrifice should one feel inclined to do so. While sacrifices are generally viewed favorably by God (ריח ניחח לה׳), there is a possibility (see Maimonides) that the entire practice is optional (כי יקריב), and merely a concession to allow the people to worship in a way that was meaningful and well-understood by them. We learn from the prophets (Jeremiah 7:22) that technically, God, at Sinai, didn't actually command to bring sacrifices, and that He prefers that we spend our time improving the world with acts of kindness, justice, and righteousness (עשה חסד משפט וצדקה בארץ). Rather than focusing on rituals (such as sacrifices and prayers) and then living corruptly, God says (Jeremiah 9:23) that He seeks (כי באלה חפצתי נאם ה׳) those who have their priorities straight and live by ethical, moral, and honest values (Beth Torah, April 1, 2017).