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April 03, 1987 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-04-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

r•

GORNBEINO

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custom
knit apparel
for all seasons

Sacrifice Did Not End
At Temple's Destruction

RABBI RICHARD C. HERTZ

Special to The Jewish News

T

his week's sidrah be-
gins a new book of
the Torah, Leviticus.
Its name has little to do with
the ancient Levites (men-
tioned only in Lev. 25:32-34).
Rather, the book deals with
laws and statutes dealing
with sacrifices and purifica-
tions, including some exalted
ethical statements on holi-
ness (See chapter 19). The
book's name comes from the
Septuagint and Latin ver-
sions, which called the third
bok of the Torah Leviticus.
Traditionally, a child began
his Hebrew studies of the
Bible with Leviticus. Why?
Why shoud a child first learn
about sacrifices dealt with in
the first chapters? Because
children are pure and sac-
rifices are pure? Maybe the

Shabbat Vayikra:
Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Isaiah
43:21.44:23

rabbis wanted children to
learn the lessons of life early.
All life is a series of sac-
rifices. Nothing worthwhile
in life is accomplished with-
out some form of sacrifice.
Parents sacrifice for their
children. Husbands and wives
sacrifice for each other. We
sacrifice for our religion, too
— sometimes.
But does the Almighty
need our sacrifices? When
people make sacrifices for
God, do they come closer to
God?: Jeremiah the prophet
spoke of sacrifices as unde-
sirable to God (Jer. 6:20).
Hosea and Amos both re-
pudiated animal sacrifices,
yet ancient Judaism as
Temple cult was offering sac-
rifices as the way to God.
Leviticus begins with rules
about sacrifice, especially
various kinds of animal sac-
rifices thought pleasing to
God — burnt offerings, meal
offerings, sacrifices of well-
being, sin offerings, guilt of-
ferings.
The ancient Temple in
Jerusalem had an elaborate
system of animal sacrifices as
a means of worshipping the
God of Israel. A crisis arose
when the Temple was de-
stroyed in 686 BC and the
leaders, including the. priests
and Levites, were carried off
into exile in Babylon. How
could they worship Go& in

Dr. Hertz is rabbi emeritus
of Temple Beth El.

358-4085
23101 Nortkwesto Hwy.

GORNBEIN JEWELERS

Fidelity Dank Dldg.
24901 Northwestern Highway
Southfield, MI 48075
357-1056

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Babylon without their sac-
rifices in the Temple of Sol-
omon?
Several revolutionary ideas
emerged in the Babylonian
exile: 1) The exile taught the
Hebrew people that the God
who dwelt in Jerusalem also
dwelt in Babylon. He was a
Universal God, not just a God
of the Hebrews, but of all
mankind. 2) In place of ani-
mal sacrifices in the Temple
in Jerusalem, the prophets of

TORAH PORTION

the exile taught that prayers
and good deeds were the
right way to worship God.
The sacrifices of the Lord are
a broken and a contrite
heart, they said.
We know from a study of
Jewish history that the Tem-
ple was rebuilt, sacrifices
were reinstituted, priests and
Levites faithfuly tended the
altars — until Jerusalem was
again sacked, this time by
the Romans in 70 CE. The
Temple and its sacrificial sys-
tems were destroyed, never to
be restored. Judaism became
a portable religion as Jews
dispersed throughout the
Mediterranean world. Wher-
ever they settled, they car-
ried their Hebrew Scriptures
with them.
A new institution came
into being: the synagogue.
Prayers and study replaced
animal sacrifices with the de-
struction of the Temple and
the automatic cessation of the
sacrificial system. Even
though some rabbis never
ceased from looking forward
to the rebuilding of the an-
cient Temple and reinstating
the sacrificial system during
some Messianic era, Orthodox
Jews continued to pray for its
reinstitution. • Reform
Judaism no longer antici-
pated the restoration of ani-
mal sacrifices. Some conser-
vative congregations also
have rephrased references to
the sacrifices, as they refer
only to past events, not to
any future restorations of
sacrifice.
Philo liked to visualize sac-
rifices all allegorically.
Maimonides held that sac-
rifices were not really of
Jewish origin but rather a
universal custom among all
peoples at the time of Moses.
Maimonides, in a famous
passage in his Guide to the
Perplexed, regarded sacrifices
as only of secondary impor-
tance in the scheme of
Judaism. He believed that
combatting idolatrous prac-
tices and weaning ancient Is-
raelites away from the cus-
Continued•on next page

HILLEL
DAY
SCHOOL

NOW ACCEPTING KINDERGARTEN
AND FIRST GRADE ENROLLMENTS
FOR FALL 1987

Please do not assume that you cannot afford a Hillel Day School
education for your child Come in and speak with us.

Rabbi Robert Abramson,

Marcia Fishman,

Headmaster

Executive Director

For further information call Rochelle Iczkovitz, Assistant Principal.

851-2394 — 32200 Middlebelt — Farmington Hills, MI 48018

Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit admits Jewish students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin. Its
admission and scholarship programs are non-discriminatory. No child will be denied an education at Hillel because
NZ parents inability to pay the full charges. Tuition allowances will continue to be granted based on individual needs.

THE CULTURAL COMMISSION

OF

CONGREGATION B'NAI DAVID

Cordially Invites You to Hear

DR. FIROOZ BANOONI

Former Member of the
Jewish Community of Teheran, Iran

ON

"IRANIAN-JEWRY: FROM THE SHAH TO KHOMEINI"

Lecture and Slide Presentation

11:00 A.M.

Sunday, April 5, 1987

at

CONGREGATION B'NAI DAVID

24350 Southfield Road
Southfield, Michigan 48075

557.8210

Question & Answer Period

The Community is Invited

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