With the anointing of Aaron, Moses hands over something he will never have again. He lovingly gives up a part of his leadership, so that the people can be better served.
Leviticus is dedicated primarily to instructing us in the various sacrifices that are brought in the Tabernacle and, later on, in the Temple, as well as other instructions pertaining to the work of the priests and the Levites.
The first verse in chapter 40 provides us with the date that the Tabernacle was completed — the first day of the first month, or the first of Nissan. Nissan is the month which begins the Biblical count of months and it falls at this time of year. It is also known as the month of the spring (Deuteronomy 16:1). It is not the month of Rosh HaShana
This week’s portion begins with the end of Exodus chapter 27 and includes the instructions for Aaron and their priests in their worship roles — their clothes, the sanctification process they will go through, and some instruction regarding the altar, the incense altar and the “tent of meeting.” It is the instruction with regard to this “tent” that I would like to focus on this week.
G-d does not need our worship. He does not need for us to build Him a house. G-d wants us to build that house so that it can be an effective tool for us to come close to G-d. May we never lose our ability to distinguish between the medium and the ultimate goal, between the vehicles of our faith and faith itself.
We begin the cycle again. Last weekend we celebrated Simchat Torah and read the final chapters of Deuteronomy with special ceremony. We then proceeded to read the first chapter of Genesis, as a way of saying that the Torah never ends, but every ending includes with it a new beginning.
This week’s portion begins with Chapter 21 of the Book of Exodus. It is a portion full of laws, pertaining primarily to the ethical standards of behavior that a Jew must follow, but which actually form the basis of so much of what has become known as Judeo-Christian law and ethics.
This week’s portion begins with Jethro’s historic visit to the Children of Israel in the desert. The story begins in Exodus Chapter 18: “And Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’s father-in-law, heard of all that G-d did to Moses and to his nation Israel, that He brought Israel out of Egypt.”
This week’s portion tells the story of the parting of the Red Sea, the culmination of the Exodus from Egypt, and includes the Song of Moses (and the shorter Song of Miriam). Grand events happen in this week’s Torah reading and it is, indeed, an awe- inspiring few chapters.
This week’s Torah portion includes the final three plagues and the beginning of the exodus. It also includes the instructions for the celebration of the Passover holiday and the procedure for the sacrifice of the lamb.