VaYikra (Leviticus)

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The Parasha (Story) of VaYikra and a big part of the book of Leviticus deals with the Temple worship sacrifices. It is hard to understand why we need to read this year after year, especially since the sacrifices apply only for the Temple and the priests (Cohen).

The Zohar explains that the meaning of the word “sacrifice” is not as it understood today, in a negative context. The root of the word sacrifice (KoRBan, in Hebrew – קרבן) is k.r.b (ק.ר.ב) which means to bring close – The Zohar makes it more clear by explaining that it is about bringing the ten Sefirot closer to each other until they become one.

However, the action itself of bringing an offering of an animal sacrifice is not enough unless there is a consciousness of regret and transformation. We mentioned in the past a well known phrase “Provide for yourself a teacher and buy yourself a friend…” which means that for a true friendship we need to “pay”, to invest and to make an effort. Everything of value must be obtained by work and effort; ‘no free lunches’.

The question is what is the meaning of that effort?

The Zohar explains that we have the tendency to make an effort whenever we want to obtain something for ourselves – to feel abundance, pleasure, bliss, joy or satisfaction – and in order to be able to draw those things from their source we have to connect to the higher Sephirot, to the upper worlds, and bring them together. How? When we create an affinity to these realms. Meaning, we need to connect to feelings, intentions and awareness of happiness, love, sharing, compassion etc. we need to combine an action with the right intention and by that we can bring down abundance from above. When we make an effort to obtain a higher level, we can feel that the effort brings us closer – KaRoV (קרוב) to our goal. Non spiritual people make an efforts, however, they feel that they sacrifice (Korban) their time or money in vain, this brings them agony and a sense of a ‘Victim’ (Korban).

The Hebrew root K.R.B (ק.ר.ב) can also be read as “battle” (Kerav, in Hebrew – קרב), meaning, that we need to fight and struggle for the real important things in life. Then, when we do something for our fellowman knowingly and willingly to bring close the Sephirot, bring them together and connect material life with the upper spiritual worlds, only then abundance and prosperity will arrive. The Ari explains that the primary reward is by fighting for who we are, on our essence and if we do everything with happiness and with intention to bring light into our life then our success is guaranteed, as it is said: “When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands…”. It does not say we need to fight our enemies, just to go to war against them and The Creator will deliver them into our hands.

That is the essence of “Korban” – bringing the Sephirot close in order to make them one, the spiritual and the material worlds. This is the secret of the book of Leviticus, which includes all the possibilities of connections and intentions that accompany to our actions.


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