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Parashat Tzav: Command

What is Religion? According to the dictionary Religion is, “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” More than that Religion must have, “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.” So, looking at the definition above, as well as keeping in mind your own definition, what are the key pieces that make up the metaphorical puzzle of Religion? Even taking that a step further, what are the key pieces that make up the metaphorical puzzle of Judaism?

Heart. Call. Command. Three words that solidified the Jewish future. Three words that I believe are the central pieces of the Jewish puzzle. Three words that are the foundation of our Religion. In Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei, the Israelites built the Mishkan/Tabernacle with heart, a place for G-d to dwell with them. This is our connection with G-d. Then in Parashat Vayikra, Moses and the Israelites were called by G-d, and presented with their new way of life. This was the beginning of our ritual observances and the accountability of our moral code. Finally, in this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Tzav there is the consecration of the Priesthood. G-d says to Moses, “Tzav Command Aaron and his sons… (Leviticus 6:1)” This is the start of our spiritual leadership and guidance. We needed each of these pieces to live, grow, and thrive as a Nation, and for later generations, as a Religion. Without them as our foundation, we would not be who we are today.

Tonight at your Shabbat table, think about whether Judaism, our Religion, continues to be lived with Heart, Call, and Command. Think about whether you believe these are the pieces of the Jewish puzzle. Think about how to keep them and Judaism living, growing, and thriving. Ask, what is the Judaism we want to be?

Shabbat Shalom!