Vayikra – Instruction manual

1 YHWH called out to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting saying: 2 Speak to the children of Israel, say to them when someone among you brings an animal offering to YHWH, your offering should be brought from the herd or from the flock.

Leviticus 1
Road work

The long and boring, irrelevant and antiquated… ROAD WORK

Not alternatives, just miles to go…sitting in a traffic jam, inching along late at night with no way out.

What if we were all given the set of road maintenance regulations to read as we entered the construction area?

What if we came upon the area suddenly our car audio system switched over to those rules, being chanted in slow staccato?

How would we feel if we were inching along and listening to mind-numbing narration about the infrastructure that we usually take for granted?

No reason to know those rules, unless it is your profession.

1 A person who brings a grain offering to YHWH, the offering should be of ground semolina; oil should be poured on it with frankincense placed on top of it.

Leviticus 2, 1

So it is the case with the sacrifices in the Mishkan: no reason to read the rules unless it is your avocation. But if they exist, it is because someone probably used to refer to them, just in case.

2 Speak to the children of Israel saying: any person that transgresses unwittingly from any of the commandments of YHWH that mustn’t be done…

Leviticus 4

Actually, we pass road work and sit in traffic jams so often and yet we haven’t thought about it for one second. But it comes to mind when these priestly rules and regulations pop up.

Someone once created these ancient instruction lists and read them to prevent severe consequences. Moreover they were preserved for us! As we all know, accidents happen, if certain things are not done exactly as proscribed.

Don’t throw out your user manuals and don’t forget how things should go. Even though we are human we still need things to fit right: corners in skyscrapers have to be constructed carefully; even blenders and hammers must be handled correctly.

Surreal and ancient stories with possible tragic consequences and a ritual escape route:

1 When a person transgresses by hearing a verbal curse—if he is a witness or saw or knew—but doesn’t tell about it, that person will be culpable. … 5 When someone becomes aware of being guilty for one of those, one should confess to transgression. 6 A guilt offering will be brought to YHWH for the transgression… 12 It will be brought to the priest… 13 The priest will expiate the transgression that was made … and grant forgiveness

Leviticus 5, 1 5-6 12-13
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Link to guilt offering explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sin_offering

Midrash Harabah and English translations by Rabbi Gail Shuster-Bouskila ©2021