Vayikra – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis
You have probably heard of the old adage, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” It is an old tradition that a young child is first introduced to Torah by reading Vayikra, the third book of the Torah, (known in English as “Leviticus”, a word deriving from Greek and Latin, meaning, “pertaining to the Levites”). The ancient rabbinic name for the book was Torat Cohanim, “the law of the priests”. There was a tradition that a child would be given a taste of honey when they began to learn.
Why begin a young child’s education with something as remote from his or her own life experience as sacrifices? Leviticus is difficult for adults to find relevant, let alone children.
Vayikra means “and he called”. Rashi interpreted this as “being called to a task in love”. To be called asks us to respond. In our daily lives we may be fortunate enough to work at something which is our calling, a vocation, something we always wanted to do or become. For all of us, what we are called to do is to look after our families and community. That also means sacrifice but it is in a sense of drawing nearer to those we love.