Friday, March 11, 2011

Parshat Vayikra

See here.

Not here.

This blog is a korbanot-free zone.

I've never been a great fan of korbanot (sacrifices, or texts about them). Yes, I'm a meat-eater. But while it doesn't make any difference to an animal why I'm having it killed, it makes a difference to me, because I object on principle to vicarious atonement--why should some animal have to be slaughtered just because I committed a sin?

Besides, in this instance, I'd rather not put my money where my mouth is.

I think it would be delightful if the Beit HaMikdash/Holy Temple were rebuilt as a kind of Central Synagogue of the Jewish People. But I'd rather see our money go toward Jewish education, caring for the poor, and other worthy causes, than wasted on sacrificial animals and the staffing and maintenance of a giant slaughterhouse.

So I won't be writing very much about Sefer Vayikra/The Book of Leviticus.


Blogger The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sun Mar 13, 08:27:00 PM 2011  
Blogger The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

Kapparah is not achieved through the Animal. The priest makes Kapparah. I have no idea how. But your animal becomes food for him and his family.

Now to the next point. If I had to to render the term T'muah, I would likely use "cooties." Just an "ick" feeling. The beginning of chapter 5 is instructive in that it includes realization of guilt along with other ways of contracting t'muah as a reason to bring the Asham offering. The asham offering offers a way of shaking that icky feeling.

These days, we don't have a way of dealing with this, except, as noted by R. Morris Allen at Beth Jacob yesterday, by appearing on Oprah. We are otherwise on our own.

Case in point. We had weeds growing in the cracks of our sidewalk. We used Roundup on them. Seeing them die because the systems that they used to nourish themselves had been co-opted by our poison broke our hearts in a way that merely pulling them up did not. We ceased using the roundup, but we could not undo what we had down. How could we get Kapparah? How could we live with ourselves?

We threw our canoes on to the car along with some garbage bags and landing nets and went to a local lake where we played "Garbage Polo," cleaning the shoreline from our canoe. And we sent some money to the Watershed District.

The laws concerning the sacrifices are not useful to us in terms of the sacrifices themselves, but they have much to teach us a) about the sort of things that cause people to want to make some kind of repair, and b) that there is a sliding scale - Bull to Flour, so that Kapparah is available regardless of wealth or lack thereof.

So, while I share your feelings about the temple pretty much precisely, I would submit to you that there remains for us what to learn from the laws regarding the offering.

Sun Mar 13, 08:32:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Good points, Reform BT. I'll keep them in mind.

Mon Mar 14, 11:20:00 AM 2011  

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