​​​​​​​This Week's Torah Thought

From Rabbi Zylberman
Vayikra | ויקרא

One of the liturgical innovations introduced by the early Reformers of Judaism was the removal of prayers for the reestablishment of the sacrificial cult that was so central to Israelite worship during the centuries the Temple stood in Jerusalem. The early rabbis saw prayer and study as stand-ins for sacrifice that is central to the Book of Leviticus, which we begin this week. In the Orthodox worldview, this arrangement is temporary, pending the arrival of the Messiah, and the rebuilding of the Temple. From the Reform perspective, prayer and study are steps in the development of our ever-evolving faith tradition. Like the sacrificial system of old, prayer and study focus our attention on cultivating gratitude and on the need to improve ourselves as moral and spiritual beings. Ultimately, prayer and study ought to spur us to action that makes this world more holy, more peaceful and more just. 

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