Vayikra / Hachodesh

AS last week, we have another “marathon” Torah reading! This week we commence the third book of the Torah — Vayikra or Leviticus.

The sedra bears the same name as the Hebrew name of the book itself — i.e. Vayikra — as is the case with every “opening” sedra of a book.

The book is called Leviticus because it concentrates on the duties of the Levitical tribe — in particular, the kohanim (priests), who were descendants of Aaron, the high priest and brother of Moses. These duties, of course, centred on the Sanctuary or the Temple.

The first two sedras concentrate on the korbanot — ritual sacrifices — that were offered in the Temple. There were different types — each with different laws.

The type of animal — or, indeed, birds — used varied depending on the sacrifice. Some could be eaten — at least in part — by the “bearer”, while others could only be eaten by a kohen and his family.

The “burned offering” could not be eaten at all. Some offerings were brought by individuals, such as a “sin offering”, while others were brought by the community as a whole, for example the daily or festival sacrifices.

This Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh Nissan, which means it is also Parshat Hachodesh, the final Shabbat of the “Four Parshiot”. Thus we read from three scrolls — which can only happen on four occasions.

From the second scroll, we read the portion for Rosh Chodesh from sedra Pinchas and from the third we read the maftir for Parshat Hachodesh.

This is from sedra Bo, earlier in Exodus, which discusses the final plague and the Pesach rituals. The Haftorah is that of Hachodesh.

Despite the fact that just over a half of Premier League managers have yet to be sacked and there are still two English clubs in the Champions League, Pesach is but a fortnight away!

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov.


© 2018 Jewish Telegraph