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March 30, 1990 - Image 54

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-30

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

I TORAH PORTION I

THE CULTURAL COMMISSION

OF

Making Sacrifices

CONGREGATION IYNAI DAVID

Continued from preceding page

Cordially Invites You to Hear

DR. SIDNEY BOLKOSKY

Professor of History,

University of Michigan, Dearborn

ON

"The Reunification of Germany
A Historian's Perspective"

11:00 A.M.

Sunday, April 1, 1990

AT

CONGREGATION IYNAI DAVID

24350 Southfield Road
Southfield, Michigan 48075

557-8210

Question and Answer Period • No Chorge • The Community is Invited

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54

FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 1990

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AMERICAN
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Help us keep winning.

done at the expense of per-
sonal statistics and to help
the team.
I think this somewhat
simplistic view could be a
guide to our portion. The
sacrifices mentioned in the
portion are voluntary ones
allowing a person to express
gratitude, a closeness with
God, or a desire for
forgiveness.
The role of sacrifice in
Jewish tradition has been
discussed by our rabbis.
Maimonides saw sacrifices as
a way to combat the practice
of idolatry and guide the peo-
ple of Israel away from the
practices of the times.
Maimonides decided that in
his age sacrifices were not ap-
propriate. Since the Temple
had been destroyed, there was
no longer a need to bring
sacrifices to a central place.
Maimonides felt sacrifices
marked a transitional stage
leading us to different types
of prayer. The services in
which we participate as Jews
today are adaptations of the
sacrificial system. We offer
our prayer at times when
these sacrifices were offered,
and our words become a way
in which we approach God. As
Judaism has evolved, we find
that in our society speaking
words from the heart and giv-
ing our spirit the opportuni-
ty to communicate with God
provide a suitable substitute
for these sacrifices. When we
pray, we speak in the plural
and pray for the benefit of not
only ourselves but our fellow
Jews and all humanity. Thus
we see that what originally
began as sacrifices have
evolved into prayers, all of
which help make the team
stronger. As in my sports
analogy, when the team is do-
ing well, the individual feels
more complete and feels bet-
ter being part of a winner. I
believe that through our
prayers today, we strengthen
ourselves as a people.
What are the sacrifices we
make in today's society?
Many of us feel we must at-
tain material possessions,
thus sacrificing our personal
time by constantly working.
The opportunity for the fami-
ly to interact becomes time
sacrificed so as to keep up
with our neighbors.
I believe many of us have
chosen to sacrifice what Mar-
tin Buber calls the "I —
Thou" relationships in our
lives. We go from place to
place, moving quickly from
one event to another, from one
carpool to another, from one
sporting event to another try-
ing to enrich our lives and
provide us as many ex-
periences as possible. I do not
believe this allows us the op-

portunity to experience that
which has potential of pro-
viding us with a much deeper
and more spiritual reward. I
believe we need to sacrifice
some of the materialism with
which we have become ac-
customed, and search for
ways to bring ourselves closer.
to our families and thus
closer to God.
Advertisements used to say
that the family that prays
together stays together. Yet
today, instead of families
praying on Shabbat or having
the opportunity for family
time, one child is at soccer,
another is at tennis, another
is doing something else and
the family does not share this
togetherness. We need to look
at how we can sacrifice some
of our activities in an attempt
to bring ourselves closer
together.
When we make sacrifices to
God, the Midrash says it is
not important whether one of-
fers a little or a lot. What is
important is that whatever is
offered is offered sincerely,
and that the person making

Shabbat Vayikra:
Leviticus 1:1-5:26,
Samuel I 15:1-34.

the sacrifice is doing so with
his thoughts and feelings
directed to helping him
become closer to God. As we
face the challenges of the
1990s, we need to recall that
sacrifices were an important
part of our tradition and that
we always cared to give the
very best. As these sacrifices
became both prayers and the
spiritual core of our existence,
they were meant to be offered
with caring devotion and
sincerity.
In Hebrew, the Book of
Leviticus is called Vayikra.
Vayikra is taken from the first
work of the Book of Leviticus
which means, "and he called."
What was God's call about? I
believe it was a call to remind
us that each of us has to make
sacrifices for the benefit of the
team, and that it is important
for us to be willing to make
these with sincerity and
devotion.
We know that the letter
aleph of the word Vayikra is
always written smaller than
the other letters, which is in
accordance with the way in
which the Torah was written
and transmitted. We also
know that the Book of
Leviticus is the first in the Bi-
ble that young children often
study.
The little aleph reminds us
that our small children are
learning the importance of-
making sacrifices that will

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