DESPITE the fact only nine Premier League managers have so far been sacked (at the time of writing), this week we commence the third Book of the Torah — Vayikra or Leviticus.
The sedra bears the same name as the Hebrew name of the Book as is the case with every ‘opening’ sedra of a Book.
The Book is called Leviticus because it concentrates on the duties of the Levitical tribe — in particular the Kohanim, who were descendants of Aaron, the High Priest and brother of Moses. These duties, of course, centred on the Sanctuary or the Temple.
The first two sedras concentrate on the Korbanot-ritual sacrifices that were offered in the Temple. There were different types of Sacrifice each with different laws.
The type of animal — or indeed birds — used, varied depending on the sacrifice. Some could be eaten — at least in part — by the ‘bearer’, while others could only be eaten by a Kohen and his family. The ‘Burnt Offering’ could not be eaten at all.
Some offerings were brought by individuals, while others were brought by the community as a whole — for example, the daily or festival sacrifices. Although we do not have the Temple today, our synagogue prayers are based on the rituals in the Temple.
For example, shacharit corresponds to the morning sacrifice, while mincha symbolises the afternoon sacrifice. In particular, the Mussaph prayer recited on Shabbat and festivals recalls the special ‘Korbanot’ offered on these days in the Temple.
It is a basic tenet of Judaism that the Temple will be rebuilt and the rituals restored.
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