Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Binyamin Kahane- Parshat VaYikra
MUST WE BE SO "PRIMITIVE"???
During a recent conference regarding the Temple Mount, one of the participants - who wears a yarmulka and carries the title "Rabbi" - made the following comment: "Must we inhale the smell of charred meat in order to manifest our religiosity?"
Undoubtedly, some will object to our publicizing the words of an enemy of Judaism. Why, they will ask, must we repeat them?
The answer is that almost all Jews, including observant ones, harbor similar thoughts. What exactly do we mean? The fact is that after 2,000 years of living without a Temple, the very idea of offering sacrifices - slaughtering animals and burning their flesh on an altar for G-d - has become foreign to us. People have even begun to reject and mock the notion. After all, who does such things today?
For this reason, while it would never occur to a believing Jew to do away with the sacrifices, he also does not exhibit a great yearning to see Judaism return to the days when they stood at its very center. He, too, cannot help but think that all this more properly belongs in the Dark Ages. I mean, between you and me, who really needs to see flocks of sheep and cattle being burned on the Temple Mount? After all, we have become accustomed to serving G-d with spiritual practices like DAVENING and FASTING. How can we suddenly serve G-d in such a crude way?
And yet, we, with our limited vision, don't make these decisions. G-d does! He decides in what manner we should draw close to Him. And G-d decreed that the ideal way to serve Him - nu, what can you do? - is to take an unblemished animal and offer it on the altar in the Temple as we contemplate that it is really WE who deserve to be slaughtered for having sinned. This process nullifies our ego and symbolizes in a very concrete way the severity of our sin and the punishment we deserve, thereby enabling us to reach higher levels of spirituality. Prayers? Fasts? Of course! But only as supplements to the sacrifices.
Our words aren't directed at the clown we quoted earlier. Our words are directed at you, dear reader, who perhaps mistakenly underestimated the vital importance of the sacrificial service and the critical need to restore it.
Know and remember! For 2,000 years, we have prayed incessantly for the restoration of our Temple and the renewal of the sacrifices. Three times every day we beseech G-d in the Amida, "Restore the service to the Holy of Holies of Your Temple and accept with love and favor the fire offerings of Israel..."
Do NOT dare think that we have "progressed" and passed this "primitive stage." A great deal of the 613 mitzvot concern the Temple and the sacrifices and anyone who considers doing away with even one of them is guilty of heresy.
Let us NOT be counted among those Moderdox Jews who create G-d in their own image. Let us be true Torah Jews who accept all of G-d's laws REGARDLESS of how they jive with certain Western concepts - concepts that dilute our ability to understand and practice authentic Judaism.
Darka shel Torah, 1994
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