From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayikra
Vayikra (וַיִּקְרָא — [God] called out) – Leviticus 1:1-5:26
The Eternal One called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying: “Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When any of you presents an offering of cattle to the Eternal: You shall choose your offering from the herd or from the flock.” – Leviticus 1:1-2
God instructs Moses on the five different kinds of sacrifices that were to be offered in the sanctuary:
- The olah or “burnt offering” was a voluntary sacrifice that had a high degree of sanctity and was regarded as the “standard” offering. The entire animal, except for its hide, was burned on the altar. (1:1-17)
- The minchah or “meal offering” was a sacrifice made of flour, oil, salt, and frankincense that was partly burned on the altar and partly given to the priests to eat. (2:1-16)
- The zevach sh’lamim or “sacrifice of well-being” was a voluntary animal offering from one’s herd, sometimes brought to fulfill a vow. (3:1-17)
- The chatat or “sin offering” was an obligatory sacrifice that was offered to expiate unintentional sins. This offering differs from the others in the special treatment of the blood of the animal. (4:1-5:13)
- The asham or “penalty offering” was an obligatory sacrifice of a ram that was required chiefly of one who had misappropriated property. (5:1-26)
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayikra
Both the parashah and the haftarah address sacrifices to God. Both the parashah and the haftarah address burnt offerings (‘olah), meal offerings (minchah), frankincense (levonah), and witnesses (ed [עֵד] or eday [עֵדָי]).
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayikra
By: Cantor Jill Abramson
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
For Torah Study, instead of the portion from the Book of Leviticus that is read on this Shabbat, we will read the Haftarah (a selection from the prophets) from Isaiah 43:21-44:23. You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Leviticus.1.1-5.26, and the Haftarah we will be studying at https://www.sefaria.org/Isaiah.43.21-44.23
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
ויקרא Vayikra – Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Post-biblical Interpretations – by Dvora E. Weisberg, pp. 587-9
יהוה called to Moses (1:1). Midrash Vayikra Rabbah 7.3 addresses the custom of beginning children’s education with the book of Leviticus, asking why study commences with Leviticus instead of Genesis. The response is that “children are pure and the sacrifices [described in Leviticus] are pure; let those who are pure study that which is pure.”
יהוה called to Moses (1:1). “Vayikra,” the opening word of Leviticus, ends with an alef that in Torah scrolls is inscribed smaller than the other letters in the word. A number of commentators seek a reason for this. One argues that the small alef recalls the word adam (human being), and reminds individuals to “make themselves small,” that is, to avoid arrogance. Another sees a play on the word aluf (leader), spelled using the same letters as the word alef: Moses, who was extremely close to God, maintained his humility. A third commentator explains that the Torah does not include an exhortation to be humble because were humility to be commanded, it would no longer be humility. Rather, the commentator concludes, every person should cultivate true humility (Itturei Torah on Leviticus 1:1, IV, 1998, pp. 7–8).
Several commentators note that this is the only time in the Torah that the verb “to call” precedes the verb “to speak.” They point out that at the end of Exodus, Moses was unable to enter the Tent of Meeting when the cloud symbolizing God’s presence descended (40:35). Vayikra begins with God’s call to Moses, indicating that Moses had achieved permission to come before the divine Presence (Rashi and Rashbam on 1:1).
from the Tent of Meeting (1:1). One rabbi notes that until now, God had spoken to Moses in open places–such as the burning bush in the wilderness, Midian, and Sinai, where God’s presence was public and without bounds. Thus “a (lowly) maidservant saw at the Sea of Reeds what even the prophet Ezekiel was not privileged to see.” However, once the Tent of Meeting was erected, God chose concealment over openness. This is a sign of divine modesty, since what is private is seen by God as more precious (Itturei Torah on 1:1, IV, p. 8). According to Midrash Tanchuma, Vayikra 4 (ed. Buber, II, p. 475), God chose to leave the high heavens and descend to the earth, to the Tent of Meeting, for love of Israel.
When any of you presents an offering…to YHVH (1:2). This portion discusses a variety of ritual sacrifices. A number of interpreters take this opportunity to consider “sacrifice” in a broader, less material sense. Remarking on the Hebrew word for “presents an offering” (yakriv), one commentator says, “When we want to draw close (l’hitkarev) to God, we must offer something of our own, that is, our ‘evil inclination.’” Another suggests that this verse calls upon individuals to offer God their innermost strength and will, to submit to God, and to dedicate all of their acts to the service of God (Itturei Torah on Leviticus 1:2, IV, p. 10).
One commentator on this verse cites BT Kiddushin 40b, “Those individuals who perform a single mitzvah draw themselves and the entire world toward righteousness.” Responding to the mixing of the singular and the plural verb forms in Leviticus 1:2, another interpretation urges that we each acknowledge that we realize our full potential through our bonds to the community of Israel. (Itturei Torah on 1:2, IV, p. 11).
You shall lay a hand upon the head of the burnt offering (1:4). While the Rabbis exempted women from the legal obligation to lay hands upon one’s burnt offering, some rabbis permitted them to participate in this mitzvah “if they choose” (BT Rosh HaShanah 33a; Vayikra Rabbah 1.7). This view is one of those cited within the contemporary halachic community in support of expanding women’s roles in ritual.
The bull shall be slaughtered…and Aaron’s sons, the priests, shall offer the blood (1:5). The first verb of this verse is impersonal, and it mentions the priests only after the animal has been killed. Citing these details of wording, the Rabbis validated animal slaughter by any lay person–male or female–whether for a sacrificial offering or for purely human consumption (Midrash Sifra: BT Z’vachim 32a; see also Mishnah Z’vachim 3:1, Chulin 1:1). Late medieval historical sources document that Jewish women were slaughtering animals for kosher meat (sh’chitah) in various parts of Europe as a matter of course; in Italy, they did so from at least the Renaissance into the 20th century.
When a person presents an offering of meal to YHVH (2:1). Midrash Tanchuma, Vayikra 5 (ed. Buber, p. 475) notes that this is the only instance in the prolonged discussion of sacrifices in which the word for “person” is nefesh instead of ish (man) or adam (human being). The midrash says that the meal offering is a poor person’s donation, brought by an individual who cannot afford to present an animal or bird sacrifice. According to this view, God responds to the offering of the poor “as if that individual had offered his or her own life (nefesh).”
PESACH – April 5-13, 2023 – 14-22 Nisan 5783
Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread
Pesach for Hebrew Year 5783 begins in the Diaspora at sundown on Wednesday, 5 April 2023 and ends at nightfall on Thursday, 13 April 2023. [In Israel and for Reform Jews Pesach is seven days. See Reform Judaism/Passover https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/passover]
Passover (Hebrew: פֶּסַח Pesach) commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.
Temple Kol Hamidbar will have an in-person community Seder in Sierra Vista, Wednesday, April 5, 2023. Dr. Sam Caron, Congregational President, will provide more details closer to the time. Meanwhile, if you are interested in helping lead the Seder please contact Dr. Caron. You are free to bring Kosher for Passover desserts to the Seder.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of brutality, abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence, and war; for all those at home alone; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, disease, natural disasters, war and violence.
This coming week, 3 Nisan through 9 Nisan, we lovingly remember:
Those victims of the Shoah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“Zichronam liv’rachah” – May their memories be for blessing.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, March 24, 2023. For the next few months we will read and discuss the Haftarah, each selection from the prophets following the weekly Torah Portion.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Haftarah Vayikra: Isaiah 43:21-44:23
Time: Mar 24, 2023 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Mar 24, 2023 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat/Gut Shabbos
PS – About Isaiah and the Book of Isaiah:
From Jewish Encyclopedia
From My Jewish Learning
From Torah.org (includes Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel)
From Wikipedia (refers to Proto-Isaiah, Deutero-Isaiah, Trito-Isaiah)
Timelines from Wikipedia