Torah – Leviticus 1:1-6:7 Haftarah – Isaiah 43:21-44:23 Brit Chadashah – Hebrews 10:1-18; Hebrews 13:10-15
Vayikra (and He called) is the subject of this week’s parasha (portion). We begin a brand new book, which we more commonly refer to as Leviticus.
We will focus mainly on the “sacrificial system,” which is actually a horrible interpretation of what this portion is actually all about. I used the common term in order to illustrate the truth of this teaching.
Before I touch upon that, I wanted to share something I picked up from a YouTube video. I don’t recall the channel, or even the title of the video at this point, but they made one point that I think is great and worth passing along. With regards to the sacrificial system, as most teach it, it can be found across mostly, if not all, religions. The person in the video pointed out that pagan sacrifice was always an attempt to appease or please a god, or as a means by which one could even become one! In other words, it was always man’s attempt to reach god, while the One True G-d of Torah and the Brit Chadashah had a plan. His plan was not a system by which man can get to G-d, but rather a plan by which G-d reaches to man! A great shift in perspective, I thought.
This portion covers in detail four types of “sacrifices” or “offerings.” They are the burnt offering, Shalom or peace offering, meal offering and the sin offering. Again, I used the terms most commonly found in our English translations.
The Hebrew word actually used is Qorban, or korban. This is a Hebrew word that has been grossly misrepresented in our translations. Whether by intent or by error, the end result is the same. We are presented with the idea that we, man has to give up something, or give something away in order to somehow please G-d.
Before I share what a proper translation looks like, let’s look at a portion here.
Leviticus 1:2-3, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the L-RD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock–of the herd and of the flock. 3 ‘If his offering [is] a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the L-RD.” (NKJV)
So again we see that our “offering” or “sacrifice” is somehow presented in order to please G-d.
Qorban, or korban is much better translated as “to draw near”, or “to draw close.” Can you see the difference? Our Korban is not brought as a pay off, enticement, or appeasement. It is brought rather as a gift. The giving of this gift is intended to draw our hearts closer to the heart of G-d, or perhaps better yet, the gift itself allows our hearts to be drawn to the Father!
Hopefully, this makes sense to you. The next time you bring a Korban to the L-RD do it out of a heart of love and thanksgiving. See what changes…