Memory and Reenactment - (The Week's End, Friday, March 24 2023)
Mar 23rd 2023

The unappeased memory of a future still to be fulfilled. -- Harold Fisch.

Most of the Book of Leviticus is about the sacrificial service in ancient Israel, as practiced initially in the desert sanctuary and later in two temples. Re-reading these prescriptions and descriptions each year in the Torah reading cycle seem to have no practical use in a post-Temple Jerusalem and post-Temple Judaism.  Many pious Jews however, recite a summary of the sacrifices intertwined with temple procedures every morning during the Preliminary Service. Reciting the korbanot is based on a midrash that when you study the sacrifices, it is as if  (כְּאִלוּ)you offered them yourself (Vayikra Rabbah 7:1). As if (כְּאִלוּ) is the key word.  Does it sound familiar?  Yes, we know it from the hagaddah: “In every generation each person must see himself as if(כְּאִלוּ) he himself had come out of Egypt.  It is no coincidence that Passover is always celebrated when the book of Leviticus is read.  It is no coincidence that in most years Shabbat Hagadol coincides with reading of parashat Tzav, which concludes the description of the sacrifices . It is no coincidence that the final אִלוּ of Dayyeinu is: “Had he brought us into the land and not built the Temple.”  Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote: “The building of the Temple by Solomon, begun ‘in the four hundred eigthtieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt” (1 Kings 6:1) is the only event in the history of Israel to be dated by reference to the Exodus.”  The Song of the Sea concludes by looking forward to the building of the Temple: “You will bring them and plant them on the mountain of Your heritage - The place, Lord, You have made for Your dwelling, The Sanctuary, Lord, that Your hands established.”  The building of the Temple, the symbol of God’s presence, was the final act in the drama begun by the Exodus.

We begin a new month.  We begin a new month. Hodesh Tov.  Hag Kasher v’Sameah

Lorne Hanick, Ritual Director