In this weeks reading from Parashat Vayikra (Vayikra / Leviticus 1:1-5:26) the Lord calls to Moshe from the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting, אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד) saying דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן לַיהוָֹה מִן-הַבְּהֵמָה מִן-הַבָּקָר וּמִן-הַצֹּאן תַּקְרִיבוּ אֶת-קָרְבַּנְכֶם: ג אִם-עֹלָה קָרְבָּנוֹ מִן-הַבָּקָר זָכָר תָּמִים יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ אֶל-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד יַקְרִיב אֹתוֹ לִרְצֹנוֹ לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה: 1:2 ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. 1:3 ‘If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. (NASB) The man is to lay his hand upon the head of the animal that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. The animal is slaughtered, skinned, cut into pieces, and burned on the altar. If the offering is from the flock of sheep or goats, the animal is to be slaughtered next to the altar (1:11). If the offering is a burnt offering of the birds the blood is to be poured out on the side the altar, and it is to be offered up as a whole burnt offering (1:14-15). The grain offering is made of fine flour with oil and frankincense (2:1). When grain is brought as bread it is to be unleavened bread (2:4), it is broken into pieces and oil is poured upon it. Every grain offering is to be seasoned with salt so the salt of the covenant is not lacking from the grain offering (2:12-13). The first fruits are also to be brought as a part of the grain offering. The peace offering is to be slaughtered at the entrance to the tent, the blood is sprinkled on the altar, and the fat is offered along with the kidneys and the liver on the altar before the Lord (3:1-16). The scriptures also say יז וְאִם-נֶפֶשׁ כִּי תֶחֱטָא וְעָשְֹתָה אַחַת מִכָּל-מִצְוֹת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא תֵעָשֶֹינָה וְלֹא-יָדַע וְאָשֵׁם וְנָשָֹא עֲוֹנוֹ: 5:17 ‘Now if a person sins and does any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware, still he is guilty and shall bear his punishment. (NASB) Unintentional or unknowing sin before God (ignorance) does not exempt a person from the consequences of sin and a offering must be brought before the Lord in order to be forgiven.
כתבי הקודש / The Holy Scriptures
ספר ויקרא פרק ב
יג וְכָל-קָרְבַּן מִנְחָתְךָ בַּמֶּלַח תִּמְלָח וְלֹא תַשְׁבִּית מֶלַח בְּרִית אֱלֹהֶיךָ מֵעַל מִנְחָתֶךָ עַל כָּל-קָרְבָּנְךָ תַּקְרִיב מֶלַח:
Vayikra / Leviticus 2:13
2:13 ‘Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. (NASB)
Here in Vayikra / Leviticus 2:13 we read Moshe telling the Priests that “the grain offering is to be seasoned with salt so that the salt of the covenant of your God is not lacking from the grain offering.” Salt is known to be used as a condiment for food from earliest of times and was indispensable to the Israelites for flavoring food. The Dead Sea or “Salt” Sea (Bereshit / Genesis 14:3 and Joshua 3:16) holds in solution 24.57 kg of salt for every 100 kg of water, and so after a flood, upon the evaporation of the water, coarse-grained salt is left behind in pools and ditches laying near the Dead Sea. Today there are various ways in which salt is used in modern cooking and in ancient Israel salt occupied the same place in preparing food. The importance of salt in daily life and in the Temple ritual explains its symbolic importance in the ceremony of the covenant. Interestingly, holy and inviolable obligations were designated as “salt covenants” (2 Chronicles 13:5). Many times in biblical history, a meal was started with a sacrificial offering therefore salt was always used during both the sacrifice and during a meal. Thus, salt is taken as a symbol of the eternal duration of the covenant of God that included the bread (grain) of the covenant. According to Vayikra / Leviticus 2:13 salt was required for meal (grain)-offerings only, based upon this, the Rabbis concluded that the salt, which belonged to the Temple for sacrificial purposes, is also to be used by the priests when they ate their portion of the sacrifices. Following the destruction of the Temple, the table set for a meal was considered an altar, therefore the Rabbis recommended that salt should be put upon it and that the blessing should not be recited without salt. The necessity for the presence of salt in our lives is illustrated by what Yeshua said in Matthew 5:13, Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς: ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ, ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται; εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων 5:13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt becomes insipid, by what means shall it be salted? For nothing it is strong for any longer, unless to be thrown outside and to be trampled upon by the men. In the Apostolic Writings, Yeshua taught his disciples that we are the “salt” (ἅλας) of the earth. The use of the word “salt” (ἅλας) in this context suggests that as salt season’s food, so too we season the earth by living in accordance with God’s Way of life. Our lives have an influence on others. The Scriptures indicate that by obeying the Lord, we preserve the earth by slowing the decay of morals in the society around us. Yeshua continues saying that if salt has “lost its savor” (ἅλας μωρανθῇ, moranthe) using the Greek word μωρανθῇ meaning “to be foolish, to act foolishly, to make foolish, to prove a person or a thing foolish, to make flat and tasteless, or of salt that has lost its strength and flavor” or becomes “insipid” how is it to be salted again or how shall it become salty again? The take away question for us today is “have our lives been salted in Christ and have we allowed that salting to loose its saltiness?” Do you want your life to be salted, preserved, and established in the covenant that God has provided? If you have not been salted, or need your saltiness restored, look to Yeshua God’s Messiah. In Him, God has established His covenant forever! Praise be to His holy Name! BTT_Parashat Vayikra-2013