Parshat Vaykrah: Why him and not me?


Tamar Pelleg

Since then, a lot of water has flowed in the river of my life. Today, apart from my everyday writing in my “Morning  Diary”, I write regularly on topics related to the Hebrew Bible’s portion of the week, from a psycho-spiritual perspective and on topics  related to relationships that I post on  Facebook, blog, digital story collections and recently I am engaged in writing a  book and my  dream begins to come true.


 Parshat Vayikra


Last week we finished reading the Book of Exodus.  The last scene was:

   “And the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle [the portable sanctuary]” and “Moses was not allowed to go into the part of the Tabernacle known as the ‘Ohel Moed’, because the Holy Cloud dwelled within it”.  

       This week we begin the book of Leviticus, and the opening scene is:

   “And Moses was called, and God spoke to him in the Ohel Moed”.

   It is as if God sees that Moses refrains from approaching Him and calls him to come closer.

     It is puzzling that Moses, who had never before been prevented from approaching God, remained outside the Tabernacle.   Because of a cloud?

     “And Moses approaches the cloudiness, within which there was God”. (Parshat Jethro).

    Another puzzle lies in the opening of the portion with “and”, as well as with a calling

     Up till now, we have read that God addresses Moses in speech:  God spoke, God commanded.  But with talking, never with calling — “vayikrah”, and He called.

    I will try to close this gap inspired by Rashi, who claims that the call of God to Moses is an intimate, soft, loving language, like a call to a loved one in an attempt to reach out, and with gratitude to Dr. Aviva Zornberg for the inspiring study of the relevant “midrashm” (interpretations”


    Moses, beloved, I call to you, why are you sitting far from me, outside the Tabernacle?

     What happened?

      Did you think that if the work of the Tabernacle was finished then your work would be finished?

     That now when the Tabernacle has been finished only Aaron your brother whom I have appointed as high priest will have a major role.

    And will you stay “outside“?

    No way!

    Come here, come closer, I have an important thing to say to you:

      Your great work is just beginning now!

    True, Aaron is the high priest, and he is in charge of the work in the Tabernacle but you are the great teacher!

     Your role from today is to teach the children of Israel what is purity (an open state to become h oly) and what is impurity (a state that is closed to becoming holy),

    And how to move between these two states.   How to move from the closed to the open, how to leave the channel of communication with Me open, how to approach Me, to approach the creative power within them and in Me.

    It is important that you teach them what the barriers (sins) that close the channels are.

    What are the things that miss the mark (and leave the channel open).

    This is very important because I do not want them to think that if they were wrong then they will be lost, that then they lose touch with me and fail to become close to me.

     There are certain rituals that your job it is to teach them so that they can embody with their deeds the intentions and the desire to return to me, to act out of harmony and in full synchronization with me.

    This is a complete doctrine, the doctrine of sacrificial offerings: How in certain situations they can come closer to Me again.

   And now, when the sin of the golden calf is still fresh in their memory – this is the perfect time!

    I know that even when one loves – sometimes one is saying things that one does not mean; we err in words and sometimes also in deeds, and then each party may close in on itself and not see the face or inwardness of the other (In Hebrew the same word is used for ‘face’ and for ‘inward’:     פנים,  ‘panim’.)

      But face to face is the situation we would like to stay in. In love, in intimacy, inside, to be inside, heart -to-heart

     These rituals will also help me connect to the side of grade (‘hesed’ in Hebrew) within me, which will prevail and transcend the side of justice (‘din’, in Hebrew) within me so that I too can confront them and act with compassion ..

     So do not sit there outside, away from the tent of the meeting and do not be shy.

       There is no reason for you to feel left out or unnecessary or unimportant. Come, come near me, my beloved.


     May we all be blessed to  succeed in connecting to the side of  grace (hesed) within us   to the quality of the love inside us, leave our  hearts open even when we may have been hurt by someone’s behavior, Or, alternatively, not  give up on  a friend who has turned inward, closed and withdrawn  from us because he  or she may have been hurt by our behavior.

   And may we also all be blessed, so that we will all be able to remain in a state of face-to-face contact and inside-to-inside relationships, in full connection with all parts of ourselves and with others.


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