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    The sigh of relief – B’chukkotai

    Regular synagogue-goers tend to breathe a sigh of relief when the Torah readings come to B’chukkotai.

    Weeks and weeks have been occupied by the Book of Vayyikra; Temple rituals, priests and sacrifices have been our weekly agenda. This Shabbat, however, Vayyikra comes to an end, and the “interesting” parts of the Torah resume next week.

    However, the Torah itself does not seem to share this approach. It states in this week’s portion, “These are the statutes, the ordinances and the laws which HaShem ordained between Him and the Children of Israel on Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses” (Lev. 26:46).

    Nothing is said about the Book being replete with boring material. Instead it assures us that the sacrificial laws and the other allegedly boring stuff derive from Sinai and must be treated with respect.

    Possibly one explanation is that the sacrificial system has an underlying symbolism which dare not be minimised. A philosophy which remains in the realms of theory has little chance of building and changing people’s lives. A set of principles that does not translate into detailed actions has neither excitement nor inspiration. A cause that does not evoke a spirit of sacrifice can never draw people to its service.

    Belief in God requires day-to-day commitment.

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