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Dvar Torah - Vayikra

This week we learn special verses. They are traditionally the first verses taught to Jewish children when they begin learning the Torah. Why do we start our Torah study, which will hopefully stretch over our lives, with the first few verses of Vayikra? The secret lies in these verses' plain textual meaning. The end of the book of Shemot relates how when the Mishkan was completed, nobody, not even Moshe, could enter it. The first verses of the book of Vayikra describe how G-d called Moshe to break through the divine barrier around the Mishkan and come into His presence. It is the process of connecting with the sacred in the most literal way possible."If they are not prophets, then they are at least the children of prophets," relates the Talmud about the Jewish people as a whole. As we learn Hashem's Torah, we can feel Him speaking to us; we can feel His presence and hear the sound of His voice. Today, we hear G-d's call as loudly as they did back then, just through a different medium. Instead of hearing a heavenly voice that summons us to His presence, we listen to the whispers from the Torah that we learn. We continue to have the gift of prophecy in a different way. It is the process of connecting with the divine in the most literal way possible."If they are not prophets, then they are at least the children of prophets," relates the Talmud about the Jewish people as a whole. As we learn Hashem's Torah, we can feel Him speaking to us; we can feel His presence and hear the sound of His voice. On Pesach, we have a unique way of engaging with that prophecy. Not only do we learn, but we all become teachers at the Seder. We all ask and then answer the questions. We all engage in debate and discussion. Seder should not just be about the food. As we begin to kosher our homes and prepare our tables, as we start the material process of preparing our food, let's not forget that we should start the spiritual process of making the Pesach Seder the richest and most inspirational experience possible.




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