This week’s Parsha is VaYikrah, Leviticus 1-5. The word VaYikrah means “and He (God) called...”. It’s just the second time the word VaYikrah is used to address Moses. The first time was at the Burning Bush, “God called unto him out of the midst of the burning bush...”
Moshe was being “Called” again in an extremely sensitive time of national loss and insecurity to lead the people into the unknown. According to our sages, he did this with humility, indicated by the extremely small size of the letter “Alef” in the word VaYikra. The challenge was how to create a holy community.
Creating a Conscious Community is what the Book of Leviticus is all about. It is our people’s blueprint for a reciprocal relationship with each other and the Source of Life. It begins with animal and other offerings that are brought to the Kohanim, the Priests, as a way of expressing aspects of our inner life and our need to be in relationship with the God of Oneness, to express gratitude, to have ways to expiate ourselves from guilt and sinfulness. Prayer, personal and communal, eventually replaced sacrifice. Today, many seek out support groups, healing circles, other spiritual practices, and therapy.
The first step toward creating Conscious Community was to provide the people with a way to be at peace with their inner life.
There are offerings of gratitude and there are sin offerings, including sin offerings for unintentional sins. There are also peace offerings and guilt offerings. Olah, one of the words for sacrifice, means to go to a higher place.
We are “called” to go to a higher place. We cannot build the Conscious Community without Introspection and atonement - at-one-ment - within ourselves and with others. Asking for forgiveness for our blindness, even though unintentional, is necessary for healing.
Both tonight and tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh Nisan, the month when we celebrate spring, renewal and recount the liberation of our people from slavery. It is the first month on the Jewish calendar. It is the beginning of the agricultural season for those living in the northern hemisphere.
Orthodox Jews the world over have put out a call to convene this Erev Rosh Chodesh to offer certain psalms and penitential prayers. (See file under Spiritual Resources below). They made their offerings at 5:30PM Israel time. The Pope made a similar call to Christians around the world to do the same. Other faith communities have also convened today and will, again, convene tomorrow at this time of the New Moon.
I will join in. VaYikra. I’ve been “called,” too. May our thoughts, prays and actions help us find the way to peace and safety. L’Shalom, Reb David