Bits of Torah Truths, Parashat Vayikra, From the Herd or the Flock and Disciplined Lives

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This weeks reading is from Parashat Vayikra (Vayikra / Leviticus 1:1-5:26), the Lord calls to Moshe from the Tent of Meeting saying 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 Lord also commands of the grain offering saying 2:11 ‘No grain offering, which you bring to the Lord, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the Lord. (NASB) The Lord speaks with regard to unintentional sin, for the individual (4:1-12) and for the congregation (4:13-20), they are to bring an offering to make atonement for the sin that is committed. The scriptures also say 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) Unknown sin before God (ignorance) does not exempt a person from accountability.

ספר ויקרא פרק א
א   וַיִּקְרָא אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָֹה אֵלָיו מֵאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֵאמֹר: ב   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: ד   וְסָמַךְ יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ הָעֹלָה וְנִרְצָה לוֹ לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו: ה   וְשָׁחַט אֶת-בֶּן הַבָּקָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה וְהִקְרִיבוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת-הַדָּם וְזָרְקוּ אֶת-הַדָּם עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב אֲשֶׁר-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד: ו   וְהִפְשִׁיט אֶת-הָעֹלָה וְנִתַּח אֹתָהּ לִנְתָחֶיהָ:

Vayikra / Leviticus 1:1-5
1:1 Then the Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, 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. 1:4 ‘He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. 1:5 ‘He shall slay the young bull before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. (NASB)

In Tehillim / Psalms 36:1, David opens by describing the ungodly man saying,  36:1 Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; There is no fear of God before his eyes. (NASB)  The most interesting aspect of this verse is that David says sin speaks in the nearness of one’s heart.  The Hebrew word for “near” is KRV (קרב) which has the meaning “nearness” or “intimacy.”  KRV (קרב) is also the root word for korban (קרבן, sacrifice) in this week’s reading.  A korban (sacrifice) is the means by which one draws near to the Lord, and interestingly, it is also within this sense that sin draws near to ones heart, speaking to the ungodly to not fear the Lord.  In the story of Cain and Abel, we read that there came a day when each brought an offering to the Lord.  According to the narrative, Abel’s offering was accepted and Cain’s was rejected.  As Cain sat there, angry and depressed, the Lord appeared to him and said, “Why are you angry and depressed?  For if you do well you will not be so.”  He then gave Cain a warning, saying, “If you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door; and its desire is to master you, but you must master it.”  Cain didn’t listen to the Lord, this is obvious since he did not bring a sacrifice of blood, he gave the produce from the land instead.  Cain did not listen to the word of the Lord with regard to the sin sacrifice.  The sin of anger mastered him, and he killed his brother.  The Scriptures say that if we fail to do what is right, sin is crouching at the door waiting to take more from our lives.  The interesting fact is that we are called to draw “near” to God, and there seems to always be something that is fighting to take first place in our lives as a substitute for the Lord.  When the Lord instructed Moshe regarding the sin sacrifices, why do you think the Lord specifically states ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. (NASB)?  Could it be that these animals “from the herd or the flock” are domesticated and that domestication is a sign of discipline within the animal kingdom?  The kind of sacrifice the Lord God describes as acceptable is from the heard or flock of disciplined animals.  Interestingly, domestication is the process whereby animals are changed through selective breeding, to accentuate traits that are ultimately beneficial.  Another by-product of domestication is dependency, there is a lose of the ability to live in the wild (Note how we are to have a dependency on the Lord).  This differs from taming which is simply an environmental social or behavioral trait (i.e. animals become accustomed to the human presence).  (Ask this question: “am I tamed from a social/environmental aspect, or am I domesticated and disciplined in Christ?”  Also think about Romans 12:1-3 and the offering of our bodies as “living sacrifices.”)  In Midrash Rabbah, Chapter 2, Part 9 (מדרש רבה ויקרא פרשה ב סימן ט) The rabbis ask the question “of the cattle, even of the herd or of the flock,” once it is said of the cattle, why is it said also “of the herd or of the flock?”  Their answer is “in order to include even such human beings as are like the cattle.”  A parallel is drawn between people, cattle, disciplined lives, and being drawn back under the wings of God’s glory.  The Lord also states “…he shall offer it, a male without defect…” requiring close inspection and selection.  When we go before the Lord in prayer, do we go with undisciplined lives that may be described as a lack of inspection and selection?  Do you live an undisciplined life?  Examples of undisciplined living may include: over spending, bouncing checks, tardiness or lazy at work, irresponsible in regards to household chores, bad habits, addictions, a poor devotional life, hurtful communication (lashon hara), poor management of time (procrastination), or being deceptive.  Some would argue these items are not that bad and have nothing to do with our faith, however, an undisciplined life can also affect our testimony to the world.  Is it hypocrisy to say Yeshua is Lord, but our lifestyle says something different?  In the light of God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness, there is no condemnation in Yeshua the Messiah; however, at the same time there is the conviction of the Holy Spirit and there is a call to holiness which by definition is the mark of a disciplined life.  In Yeshua the Messiah, does a disciplined life just happen automatically?  What do you think? BTT_Parashat Vayikra-2014

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!

1 COMMENT

  1. Additional thoughts on the Parashah…

    In Midrash Rabba Vayikra (Leviticus), Chapter 3, Part 4 (מדרש רבה ויקרא פרשה ג סימן ד) the rabbis discuss the verse Leviticus 2:1 ‘Now when anyone presents a grain offering as an offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it. NASB (א וְנֶפֶשׁ כִּי-תַקְרִיב קָרְבַּן מִנְחָה לַיהוָֹה סֹלֶת יִהְיֶה קָרְבָּנוֹ וְיָצַק עָלֶיהָ שֶׁמֶן וְנָתַן עָלֶיהָ לְבֹנָה) The discussion on the meal offering is drawn within the context of the pigeon or turtle dove, an offering that is given by the poor. R. Tanhum b. Hanilai said: “This bird flies about and swoops about the world, and eats indiscriminately; it eats food obtained by robbery and by violence.” We are told that giving to the Lord a sacrifice obtained by robbery is unacceptable. In addition to this, it is also not acceptable to take something obtained from robbery or violence and give to the poor. While thinking on this discussion, I thought about the movie “Robin Hood.” In the movie Robin hood, the men in Sherwood forest would rob the rich and give to the poor. Based upon the Torah, this is not acceptable before God. Thinking back while watching the movie years back, I thought “wow, that is really great what Robin hood is doing.” However, today, in light of the weekly portion, and the comments of the rabbis, this is completely unacceptable in the eyes of God. It would have been better to go out and get a job, and then give the earnings to the poor. This would be acceptable in the eyes of the Lord God Almighty.

    Interesting point to think about, today, have you ever obtained something by robbery, violence, or even deceptive means and then given it to someone else as an act of charity? Or even to a church or synagogue?