Friday, March 7, 2014

Shabbat Thought :: Parasha Vayikra

Each week in the Synagogue, a different portion of scripture is studied.  The Torah (Old Testament) is broken into portions which are read over the course of a year.  At the end of the year, it starts over again so the Bible is read annually. 

This week's Parasha is Vayikra from Leviticus 1:1-5:26.

He shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, and what remains of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar; it is a sin offering. Leviticus 5:9 (JPS)

Offerings and sin offerings and guilt offerings, oh my! It's a great deal to wrap your mind around, isn't it? Do you ever have those weeks where you just can't get into a text? Your house is finally recovering from crumbs on the floor, and the piles of laundry and dishes aren't so tall, but your brain is a little fuzzy? No? Just me?

Well. In my reading of this week's parasha, It occurs to me that worship before Yeshua was really really messy. Blood was everywhere! Imagine being there, being then, the noise of animals roaming the temple. There must have been lots of people noise, talking, shouting. You hear the chanting of prayers, the confession of sins. You hear the screams of the dying animals. And the blood everywhere - on the alter, on the base of the altar. Everyone's hands  must have been covered in blood.

We don't touch blood much in our American culture. Surgeons do. Butchers do. But not communally, the way the world used to on a daily basis. Even to eat meat, the everyday person doesn't usually touch blood like they used to when you had to slaughter your own chickens for a chicken dinner.

The book of Hebrews tells us how things have changed since Yeshua came:

The Torah has a shadow of the good things to come—not the form itself of the realities. For this reason it can never, by means of the same sacrifices they offer constantly year after year, make perfect those who draw near.  Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers—cleansed once and for all—would no longer have consciousness of sins?  But in these sacrifices is a reminder of sins year after year—  for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ( Hebrews 10:1-4 TLV)

Therefore, brethren, we have boldness to enter into the Holies by the blood of Yeshua .  He inaugurated a new and living way for us through the curtain—that is, His flesh.  We also have a Kohen  Gadol over God’s household. So let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and body washed with pure water.( Hebrews 10:19-22 TLV)

I'm really thankful our worship isn't as messy as it used to be. I'm thankful that I don't have to deal with blood in order to have my sins forgiven. I'm glad that Yeshua died for our sins, as the offering, and that the way we worship forever changed.

Aren't you?

Shabbat Shalom!

No comments:

Post a Comment