Vayikra – Torah In Haiku


Mishkan completed …
Now the rules for korbanot …
Drawing close to God —

The Book of Leviticus begins with rules for the sacrifices – korbanot – that will take place in the Tabernacle (Mishkan) that was completed as the Book of Exodus ended. The Hebrew provides us with clues to find meaning in these difficult passages about mystifying rituals.

The word we generally translate as sacrifice or offering is korban, which comes from a Hebrew root that means to come near or approach.

The first type of offering described is the oleh , translated as burnt offering. The Hebrew root here is the same as the word aliyah, which we use for those who recite blessings for the reading of Torah, or those who move to Israel. It suggests rising or going up, like the smoke of the oleh offering.

The sacrifices described in Leviticus provided a way for the former slaves to raise themselves up and draw nearer to God.

Today, we can find ways to draw near to God through prayer, which replaced animal sacrifice after the destruction of the Temple, and “going up” to Torah through study.
Image by Jim Padgett via Wikimedia Commons
Ed Nickow | The Torah In Haiku

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